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Exercise Controls Weight in White Girls Better Than in Black Girls: Study
Date:6/6/2012

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise appears less likely to prevent obesity among black teenage girls than their white peers, a new study shows.

British researchers who gauged the effect of exercise on more than 1,100 girls, aged 12 to 14, surmised that black teen girls may be less sensitive than white teen girls to the effects of physical activity to prevent obesity.

"Higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower risk of obesity among white girls but not among black girls," wrote study authors James White and Russell Jago.

This is of concern because obesity rates are increasing at a greater rate among black teen girls than other U.S. youths, putting them at greater risk for heart disease, according to background information in the study. Black American girls were 80 percent more likely than white girls to be overweight in 2007-2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health reported. And about four out of five black American women are overweight or obese.

"At present, we don't know whether these differences can be attributed to genetics," said White, a researcher at Cardiff University in Wales. While other studies have found black girls consume more calories than white girls, he said this study took those differences into account, suggesting there may be other reasons. "These may be genetic, but we don't really know," he said.

However, at least one expert believes the study results may reflect lifestyle differences, which can be addressed, not just genetics.

White and Jago, of the University of Bristol in England, evaluated data on girls who participated in the long-running National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study.

The researchers were looking at factors associated with obesity and the development of heart disease risk factors.

For this study, published in the
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