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Obes Res. 2003 Aug;11(8):1010-7.

Trends of abdominal adiposity in white, black, and Mexican-American adults, 1988 to 2000.

Author information

  • 1Department of Community Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, 1550 College Street, Macon, GA 31207, USA. okosun_i@mercer.edu



To describe changes in the distribution of waist circumference (WC) and abdominal obesity (AO) in white, black, and Mexican-American adults from 1988 through 2000.


Nationally representative cross-sectional surveys of adults 20 to 79 years of age were examined using data from U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys of 1988 to 1994 and 1999 to 2000. AO was defined as WC > or =102 cm in men and > or 88 cm in women.


There was a gradient of increasing WC and AO with increasing age in both study periods in whites and blacks. In men, the average increase between the study periods in overall WC in whites, blacks, and Mexican Americans were 3, 3.3, and 3.4 cm, respectively. The corresponding values in women were 2.4, 5.3, and 3.7 cm, respectively. In men, the percentage change in prevalence of AO between 1988 and 2000 ranged from 5.5% in Mexican-American men to 8.2% in white men. In women, there was a 1.7% decrease in AO in Mexican Americans, whereas there was an increase of 6.3% for whites and 7% for blacks.


Despite increased understanding of the need for screening and treatment for obesity, this study indicates increasing prevalence of AO in white and black Americans. Without concerted effort to reduce the prevalence of overall obesity, the increasing prevalence of AO is likely to lead to increased prevalence of metabolic syndromes in the United States. Our results highlight the need to design evidence-based programs that show promise for long-term health behavior changes to facilitate the prevention of AO and related comorbidities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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