The Incredible Shrinking Black Woman: Implications of Health Policies
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Black American women are shrinking in height at a faster rate than other groups, a phenomenon that has consequences for the physical health and economic well-being of black females. Relative to the cohort born from 1955 to 1974, the most recent cohort (1970–1986) of black American women and girls have lost more than half an inch (approximately 0.56) in height. Adult height is a measure of net nutrition acquired during childhood and adolescence and is correlated with a wide variety of economic and health outcomes. Simultaneously, the body mass index (BMI) among blacks has also increased at a faster rate than whites in both the periods of 1988–1994 (1.06 kg/m2) and 1999–2002. Black women and girls, in particular, experienced the greatest increase in BMI since the 1990s. Evidence that black American women are shrinking and BMI is growing highlights the need to examine the nutritional intake of black girls during childhood and adolescence; early nutritional deficiencies have persistent impact over their life course. In this policy brief, we consider several public health policy interventions that affect black girls’ nutritional intake across the life course, particularly during childhood and adolescence.
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- The Incredible Shrinking Black Woman: Implications of Health Policies
The Review of Black Political Economy
Volume 39, Issue 4 , pp 381-388
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
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- Height reduction
- Black women
- Public policy
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Sociology, City University of New York/John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 899 10th Avenue, New York, NY, 10019, USA
- 2. Charles E. Merrill Professor & Chair, Department of Economics, Morehouse College, 830 Westview Dr. SW, Atlanta, GA, 30314, USA