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Obesity in Ethnic Groups – USA

Differing Rates of Excess Weight By Ethnic Grouping

  • In women, overweight and obesity are higher among members of racial and ethnic minority populations than in non-Hispanic white women.
  • In men, Mexican Americans have a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity than non-Hispanic whites or non-Hispanic blacks.
  • The prevalence of overweight and obesity in non-Hispanic white men is greater than in non-Hispanic black men.
  • 69% of non-Hispanic black women are overweight or obese compared to 58% of non-Hispanic black men.
  • 62% of non-Hispanic white men are overweight or obese compared to 47% of non-Hispanic white women.
  • However, when looking at obesity alone (BMI greater than 30), slightly more non-Hispanic white women are obese compared to non-Hispanic white men (23%; 21%).
  • For all racial and ethnic groups combined, women of lower socio-economic status (income less than 130 percent of poverty threshold) are approximately 50% more likely to be obese than those of higher socioeconomic status.
  • Mexican American boys tend to have a higher prevalence of overweight than non-Hispanic black or non-Hispanic white boys.
  • Non-Hispanic black girls tend to have a higher prevalence of overweight than Mexican American or non-Hispanic white girls.
  • Non-Hispanic white adolescents from lower income families experience a greater prevalence of overweight than those from higher income families.

SOURCE: Surgeon General, Official Recommendations.

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Weight Loss Advice

No matter how much excess weight or fat you have, if you want to lose weight permanently, your diet program should be directed toward a slow, steady weight loss. According to official government dietary guidelines, unless your doctor feels your particular health condition would benefit from more rapid weight loss, you should expect to lose no more than 2 pounds of fat a week, although initial loss (mainly water) may be greater. Losing more weight is no guarantee that weight loss is likely to be permanent.

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