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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009 Jul 17;58(27):740-4.

Differences in prevalence of obesity among black, white, and Hispanic adults - United States, 2006-2008.


Obesity is associated with increased health-care costs, reduced quality of life, and increased risk for premature death. Common morbidities associated with obesity include coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. As of 2007, no state had met the Healthy People 2010 objective to reduce to 15% the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults. An overarching goal of Healthy People 2010 is to eliminate health disparities among racial/ethnic populations. To assess differences in prevalence of obesity among non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics, CDC analyzed data from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys conducted during 2006--2008. Overall, for the 3-year period, 25.6% of non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics were obese. Non-Hispanic blacks (35.7%) had 51% greater prevalence of obesity, and Hispanics (28.7%) had 21% greater prevalence, when compared with non-Hispanic whites (23.7%). This pattern was consistent across most U.S. states. However, state prevalences varied substantially, ranging from 23.0% (New Hampshire) to 45.1% (Maine) for non-Hispanic blacks, from 21.0% (Maryland) to 36.7% (Tennessee) for Hispanics, and from 9.0% (District of Columbia [DC]) to 30.2% (West Virginia) for non-Hispanic whites. Given the overall high prevalence of obesity and the significant differences among non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics, effective policies and environmental strategies that promote healthy eating and physical activity are needed for all populations and geographic areas, but particularly for those populations and areas disproportionally affected by obesity.

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