Blacks & Obesity: What Are Today’s Statistics?

Doctor taking measures of overweight mid-adult woman
Obesity has the potential to cause lifelong problems for a person’s general health. For example, more than 80% of people with Type 2 Diabetes are obese. Additionally, people who are obese are more likely to develop health issues due to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and physical inactivity. These health issues may contribute to serious illness and conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.

Statistics of obesity rates in African Americans are greatly alarming. According to Trust for America’s Health Report in July 2011, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future”, over 30% of African American residents living in over 41 states are obese or overweight. This is in comparison to the fact that there are only four states in which 30% or more whites are obese.

The Office of Minority Health has found that about 4 in 5 African American women are overweight or obese. However, adults are not the only ones affected by this epidemic, as data from the Centers for Disease Control from 2007 through 2010 found that 23.3% of African American boys, aged 6 – 11, and 24.5 % African American girls, ages 6 – 11 were obese.

Clearly, obesity is currently a significant problem within the African American community that will continue to affect the overall health status of African Americans for years to come. Steps must be taken to control the problem, such as through promoting increased physical activity and following a more healthy diet. Your healthcare professional will be better able to assist you in your favorable lifestyle choices with implementation of the Affordable Care Act, (ACA). With full implementation of ACA, preventative care and pre-existing conditions will receive appropriate attention and you will be better able to take pre-emptive action in halting, reversing and reducing the effects of these illnesses on your life and the lives of your loved ones.

By William D. Ritchie, BDO Mental Health Expert

William Richie, MD, FAPA is a board certified Forensic and General Psychiatrist who has provided psychiatric and forensic services in a wide variety of settings. After receiving a combined B.A/M.D degree from the University of Missouri in 1983, Dr. Richie completed his psychiatry residency training at Howard University in 1990. In additional to clinical duties, Dr. Richie has publications, national and international lectures and seminars, has media appearances and provided expert testimony in both civil and criminal forensic cases throughout the United States. Dr. Richie is committed to providing high quality mental health services to the community and the training aspiring psychiatrists.