Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 378–386

Obesity and Black Women: Special Considerations Related to Genesis and Therapeutic Approaches

Race and Ethnicity Disparities (M Albert, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s12170-013-0328-7

Cite this article as:
Agyemang, P. & Powell-Wiley, T.M. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep (2013) 7: 378. doi:10.1007/s12170-013-0328-7


Black women in the United States are disproportionately affected by obesity, with almost two-thirds considered obese based on body mass index. Obesity has been directly linked to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in black women. Therefore, understanding contributors to the genesis of obesity in black women is imperative. While biologic differences likely result in varying obesity prevalence across racial/ethnic groups, behaviors such as post-partum weight retention and limited leisure-time physical activity, may especially contribute to obesity in black women. Black women also appear to be particularly susceptible to cultural, psychosocial, and environmental factors that can promote weight gain. Therapeutic interventions are being tailored to specifically address these social determinants of health and to foster lifestyle modification; however, more work is needed to understand barriers to behavior change for black women. Knowledge gaps also remain in identifying mechanisms by which pharmacologic and surgical treatments for obesity modify cardiovascular risk in black women.


Obesity Black women Genetics Behavior Cultural norms Psychosocial stress Environmental factors Lifestyle modification Therapeutics 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Branch, Division of Intramural ResearchNational Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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