Race a Factor in Obesity

College-educated black American women have higher BMI than white counterparts

THURSDAY, March 4, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- College-educated black American women have higher body mass (BMI) ratings than college-educated white women, says a Rush University Medical Center study.

The researchers presented their finding March 3 at the American Psychosomatic Society Conference in Orlando.

The study included 2,017 women, average age 46, from Chicago, Detroit, Boston and Pittsburgh. They were tracked for four years as part of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation.

High-school educated women of both races had similar BMI levels -- 31.4 for blacks and 31.1 for whites. But college-educated black women had an average BMI level of 30.7 while college-educated white women had a BMI of 27.1.

The findings suggest middle or high socioeconomic status may exert a more protective effect on BMI for white women compared to black women. More research is required to study why that may be the case.

A previous study found that about half of all black American women are obese, compared with about 30 percent of white American women.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about body mass index.

SOURCE: Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, news release, March 3, 2004
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