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Obesity and African Americans

  • African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.
  • In 2015, African Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as non- Hispanic whites.
  • In 2015, African American women were 60 percent more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white women.
  • In 2011-2014, African American girls were 50% more likely to be overweight than non-Hispanic white girls.

 

Age-adjusted percentage of persons 20 years of age and over who are overweight or obese, 2011-2014. (Persons are considered overweight if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or greater.) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
69.6
73.7
0.9
Women
82.0
63.5
1.3
Total
76.3
68.5
1.1

Source: CDC, 2017. Health United States, 2016. Table 58.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf [PDF | 11.14MB]

 

Age-adjusted percentage of persons 18 years of age and over who are overweight but not obese, 2015. (Persons are considered overweight if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or greater.) National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic
White Ratio
Men
34.2
38.9
0.9
Women
28.0
26.8
1.0
Total
30.8
32.9
0.9

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-15.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Age-adjusted percentage of overweight persons 20 years of age and over who are obese, 2011-2014. (Persons are considered obese if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater.) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
37.9
34.0
1.1
Women
56.5
35.3
1.6
Total
48.0
34.6
1.4

Source: CDC, 2017. Health United States, 2016. Table 58.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf [PDF | 11.14MB]

 

Age-adjusted percentage of persons 18 years of age and over who are obese, 2015. (Persons are considered obese if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater.) National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic
White Ratio
Men
33.8
30.1
1.1
Women
44.2
26.9
1.6
Total
39.5
28.5
1.4

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-15.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

CHILDREN

Percentage of obesity among children and adolescents 6–11 years of age, 2011-2014

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Girls
21.6
14.4
1.5
Boys
21.2
13.0
1.6
Total
21.4
13.6
1.6

Source: CDC, 2017. Health United States, 2016. Table 59.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 11.14MB]

 

Percentage of obese children and adolescents 6-17 years of age. 2011-2014

African American
Non-Hispanic White
African American/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
22.5
17.1
1.3

Source:  Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. America's Children: Key National Indicators of well-Being. 2017. Table HEALTH7
http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/health7.asp

 

Percent of children age 2-17 for whom a doctor or other health provider ever gave advice about amount and kind of physical activity, United States, 2013

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
42.0
39.9
1.1

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 7_2_1_6_1.1 [Accessed 08/18/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

Percent of children age 2-17 for whom a doctor or other health provider ever gave advice about eating healthy, United States, 2013

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
58.5
56.3
1.1

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 7_2_1_8_1.1 [Accessed 08/18/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

ADOLESCENTS

Percentage of high school students who were overweight, 2015

 
Black
White
Black / White Ratio
Girls
21.2
14.6
1.5
Boys
13.6
15.9
0.9
Total
17.2
15.2
1.1

Source: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Table 105.
Available at http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 08/18/2017]

 

Percentage of high school students who were obese, 2013

 
Black
White
Black / White Ratio
Girls
15.2
9.1
1.7
Boys
18.2
15.6
1.2
Total
16.8
12.4
1.4

Source: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Table 105.
Available at http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 08/18/2017]

 

HEALTH IMPACT OF OBESITY

  • People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, diabetes and LDL cholesterol -- all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. 1
  • In 2015, African Americans were 20% less likely to engage in active physical activity as Non-Hispanic whites.
  • Deaths rates from heart disease and stroke are higher for African Americans as compared to whites.

Physical Activity:

Percentage Inactive physical activity among adults 18 & over: 2015 (Did not meet federal physical activity guidelines)

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
54.7
43.7
1.2

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-14.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percentage Some Leisure Time Physical Activity Among Adults 18 & over: 2015 (Met aerobic guidelines only)

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
41.8
53.0
0.8

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-14.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percentage Regular Leisure Physical Activity Among Adults 18 & over: 2015 (Met federal physical activity guidelines)

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
19.8
23.4
0.8

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-14.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percent of adults age 18 and over who were obese who were given advice about exercise, United States, 2013

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
64.8
64.5
1.0

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 7_2_1_5_1.1 [Accessed 08/18/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

Percent of adults age 18 and over who were obese who were given advice about eating fewer high fat or high cholesterol foods, United States, 2013

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
49.3
51.5
1.0

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 7_2_1_7_1.1 [Accessed 08/18/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query


At a Glance – Risk Factors:

Obesity is a risk factor for several diseases. For statistics on these related diseases see:

Diabetes – See Diabetes and African Americans
Heart Disease – See Heart Disease and African Americans
Stroke – See Stroke and African Americans


1Source: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html
Last Modified: 8/25/2017 10:08:00 AM