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Racial/ethnic differences in body mass index, morbidity and attitudes toward obesity among U.S. adults.

By Dong-Chul Seo and Mohammad R. Torabi


OBJECTIVE: To describe racial/ethnic differences by gender in body mass index (BMI), to examine the relationship between existence of current morbidity and BMI, and to assess racial/ethnic disparities in attitudes and perceptions toward obesity. DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional random-digit telephone survey of a representative sample of noninstitutionalized U.S. adults aged > or =18 years in 2005 (N = 1,000, 62% response rate and 82% cooperation rate). RESULTS: The prevalence of overweight or obesity in 2005 among U.S. adults was 63%. Racial disparities in obesity were observed among women, not among men. The mean BMI of non-Hispanic black women was 29.8, significantly (P < 0.01) higher than that of non-Hispanic white women (26.7). Eighteen percent of the respondents reported having serious morbidities, with 8.5% reporting diabetes. A dose-response relationship was observed between BMI groups and existence of morbid conditions. Twenty-seven percent of obese respondents (BMI > or = 30) and 55% of extremely obese respondents (BMI > or = 40) reported such conditions. Race (blacks versus whites) was not a significant predictor for any of the six different attitudes and perceptions toward obesity in fully adjusted logistic models. CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence of plateau or decrease in the prevalence of overweight or obesity and diabetes among U.S. adults. Racial disparities between blacks and whites persist among women. A modification of attitudes and perceptions might not have significant effects on people's behavior that can influence the prevalence of overweight and obesity

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: National Medical Association
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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