Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 95–101 | Cite as

Attitudes Regarding Overweight, Exercise, and Health among Blacks (United States)

  • Gary G. BennettEmail author
  • Kathleen Y. Wolin
  • Melody Goodman
  • Michelle Samplin-Salgado
  • Patricia Carter
  • Sarah Dutton
  • Retha Hill
  • Karen Emmons
Original Paper


Objective To investigate Blacks’views regarding the connections among overweight, exercise, and health.

Methods A national randomized telephone survey of 986 US Blacks, conducted between 6 July 2004 and 15 July 2004.

Results The majority (65%) of respondents reported their weight as average or underweight. Most participants also reported being regularly physically active in the last month (84.5%). The majority of participants reported believing that it is possible to be overweight and healthy. Most acknowledged the connection between exercise and health, and just over half of respondents identified the association between overweight and cancer risk. There was little sociodemographic variation in responses, although findings differed by self-reported overweight and physical activity.

Conclusions Some Blacks may underestimate the extent of their overweight, perhaps resulting from the high prevalence of the condition in the population. Gaps exist in Blacks’ recognition of the connection between weight and health, although the importance of exercise for health promotion was widely acknowledged. These data may highlight an important target for intervention attention.


Blacks/African Americans Body weight  Physical activity Risk reduction behavior 



We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of Sandy Askew and Jodi Anna Saia-Witte for their assistance with the preparation of this manuscript. This research was supported by Grant #5 P01 CA75308 from the National Institutes of Health and support to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute by Liberty Mutual, National Grid, and the Patterson Fellowship Fund. G.G. Bennett is also supported by an award from the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. K.Y. Wolin was supported, in part, by a National Cancer Institute training grant (5 T32 CA09001-28).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary G. Bennett
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kathleen Y. Wolin
    • 3
  • Melody Goodman
    • 4
  • Michelle Samplin-Salgado
    • 5
  • Patricia Carter
    • 6
  • Sarah Dutton
    • 7
  • Retha Hill
    • 8
  • Karen Emmons
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Society, Human Development and HealthHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Community-Based ResearchDana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiostatisticsHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  5. 5.Harvard Center for Cancer PreventionBostonUSA
  6. 6.Harvard Center for Society and HealthBostonUSA
  7. 7.CBS News PollNew YorkUSA
  8. 8.Black Entertainment TelevisionWashingtonUSA

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