May 23, 2018
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New Obesity Data Shows Blacks Have the Highest Rates of Obesity




Blacks had 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity, and Hispanics had 21 percent higher obesity prevalence compared
with whites, according to researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Greater prevalences of obesity for blacks and whites were found in the South and Midwest than in the West and
Northeast. Hispanics in the Northeast had lower obesity prevalence than Hispanics in the Midwest, South or West. The
study, in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined data from 2006-2008.
“This study highlights that in the United States, blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately affected by obesity,’’ said Dr.
William H. Dietz, Director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, ``If we have any hope of
stemming the rise in obesity, we must intensify our efforts to create an environment for healthy living in these
The study uses data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), of the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. BRFSS is an ongoing, state-based, random-digit–dialed telephone survey of the U.S. civilian,
noninstitutionalized population aged 18 years and older.
The study found that in 40 states, obesity prevalence among blacks was 30 percent or more. In five of those states,
Alabama, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, and Oregon, obesity prevalence among blacks was 40 percent or greater.
For blacks, the prevalence of obesity ranged from 23 percent to 45.1 percent among all states and the District of
Columbia; among Hispanics in 50 states and DC, the prevalence of obesity ranged from 21 percent to 36.7 percent, with
11 states having an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or higher. Among whites in 50 states and the District of Columbia,
the prevalence of obesity ranged from 9 percent to 30.2 percent, with only West Virginia having a prevalence of 30
percent or more.
"We know that racial and ethnic differences in obesity prevalence are likely due to both individual behaviors, as well as
differences in the physical and social environment,’’ said Liping Pan, M.D., M.P.H., lead author and epidemiologist. ``We
need a combination of policy and environmental changes that can create opportunities for healthier living.”
For this study analysis, CDC analyzed the 2006−2008 BRFSS data. For more information on obesity trends, tables,
including an animated map, visit To learn more about CDC′s efforts in the
fight against obesity or for more information about nutrition, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight, visit
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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