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Blacks Have Highest Obesity Rates in U.S.
Date:7/16/2009

rate among blacks was 40 percent or more.

Among blacks, obesity rates ranged from 23 percent to 45.1 percent throughout the United States. For Hispanics the obesity rate ranged from 21 percent to 36.7 percent. In 11 states, the prevalence of obesity was 30 percent or higher among Hispanics, Pan's group found.

Among whites, the prevalence of obesity ranged from 9 percent to 30.2 percent around the country. West Virginia was the only state where the prevalence of obesity among whites was 30 percent or more.

The CDC is currently focusing its efforts on getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables and stay away from high-calorie, high-sugar foods. In addition, the agency is encouraging new mothers to breast-feed their infants, Pan said.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said that while there are reasons for the toll obesity is taking on blacks, whites are also dealing with the same obesity problem.

"We should not be surprised to see major disparities in obesity, since the factors that cause it -- eating the wrong kinds of food and too much, and doing too little activity -- are themselves highly disparate in our society," Katz said.

Relative poverty, lower levels of education, neighborhoods that provide limited opportunity for outdoor recreation or to find and choose healthful foods are the underlying problems, Katz said. "There are ethnic disparities in obesity because there are ethnic disparities in the basic standard of living," he said.

"We should, of course, direct resources at this problem where it is most acute, developing community-based interventions to control and prevent obesity where it is most rampant. But we should also recognize that we are all in the same boat," Katz said.

Recently published projections indicate that all adults in the United States will be overweight or obese by 2048, should current trends
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