Black adolescent girls benefit less than whites from physical exercise

Source: New York Daily

According to research published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, black girls are less responsive to the benefits of physical activity.

Researchers studied the exercise levels and caloric intake of a group of 1,148 adolescent girls at age 12. Two years later, lower levels of obesity correlated with higher levels of exercise in white girls. Surprisingly, the same wasn’t true for black girls — those who reported frequent physical activity were just as likely to be obese two years later as ones who rarely exercised.

The study’s authors pointed to earlier research that helps explain why African-American girls might be at a disadvantage in the weight game, such as having lower metabolic rates and lower rates of fat oxidation than their white peers.

Other potential contributing factors are a higher daily caloric intake and more sedentary behaviors, like watching TV, the study says. 

There is much that is wrong about the article...from the many gross generalizations to the lack of an authentic sample that reflects the female black African American population...i don't have access to the complete report which cost $34.95 but on what is it basing the notion that black girls watch more TV than white girls and there for are not more physically active?...

The writer and editor behind the website a black girls guide to weightloss, Erika Nicole Kendall, sums up my concerns with this research. You can read about it here

Here is the abstract of the research from PubMed

Descriptive Study of Educated African American Women Successful at Weight-Loss Maintenance Through Lifestyle Changes.


Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, 1504 Taub Loop, Houston, TX, 77030, USA,



Interventions to address obesity and weight loss maintenance among African Americans have yielded modest results. There is limited data on African Americans who have achieved successful long-term weight loss maintenance.


To identify a large sample of African American adults who intentionally achieved clinically significant weight loss of 10 %; to describe weight-loss and maintenance efforts of African Americans through a cross-sectional survey; to determine the feasibility of establishing a registry of African American adults who have successfully lost weight.


African American volunteers from the United States ≥ 18 years of age were invited to complete a cross-sectional survey about weight, weight-loss, weight-loss maintenance or regain. Participants were invited to submit contact information to be maintained in a secure registry.


Percentage of participants who achieved long-term weight-loss maintenance reporting various dietary and physical activity strategies, motivations for and social-cognitive influences on weight loss and maintenance, current eating patterns, and self-monitoring practices compared to African Americans who lost weight but regained it. Participants also completed the Short International Physical Activity Questionnaire.


Of 3,414 individuals screened, 1,280 were eligible and completed surveys. Ninety-percent were women. This descriptive analysis includes 1,110 women who lost weight through non-surgical means. Over 90 % of respondents had at least some college education. Twenty-eight percent of respondents were weight-loss maintainers. Maintainers lost an average of 24 % of their body weight and had maintained ≥ 10 % weight loss for an average of 5.1 years. Maintainers were more likely to limit their fat intake, eat breakfast most days of the week, avoid fast food restaurants, engage in moderate to high levels of physical activity, and use a scale to monitor their weight.


Influences and practices differ among educated African American women who maintain weight loss compared to those who regain it.

Recommended Posts