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Author Notes:

Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, USA. Terry A. Jacobson: ude.yrome@20ocajt



  • obesity
  • women
  • weight-control practices

An assessment of obesity among African-American women in an inner city primary care clinic.


Journal Title:

Journal of the National Medical Association


Volume 94, Number 12


, Pages 1049-1057

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Despite multiple patient assessments and interventions, obesity continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality nationwide. This study assesses the prevalence of obesity and weight control practices among middle-aged African-American women. In 1995, 307 women 30 years of age and older were consecutively selected in a non-random fashion from three clinic sites located within a public university hospital that served largely indigent, inner city African-American populations. Interviewers surveyed the respondents using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The prevailing demographic profile of patients in the clinic was middle-aged, indigent, ill, and of low educational attainment. Over 35% of individuals were classified as being overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9 kg/m2) and 45% were classified as being obese (BMI > or = 30 kg/m2). Therefore, more than 80% of individuals in this study were either overweight or obese, with BMI exceeding 25 kg/m2. Of the overweight and obese African-American women in this study, only 40% were attempting current weight loss practices, and weight loss attempts varied directly with body mass index. Although 80% of women attempted weight loss by restricting caloric intake, only 50% were also using physical activity as part of their regime. African-American women in this population have a higher prevalence of obesity and encounter great difficulty losing weight. Counselors should emphasize the value and ease of adopting a moderate regimen of physical activity and not just reducing caloric intake when advising African-American women and their peer network.

Copyright information:

© 2002

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