Obesity may exacerbate a heart disorder in African American females

New Orleans, LA -- Sedentary lifestyle habits, poor dietary habits, and childhood obesity are becoming epidemic in America. These behaviors are more prevalent in children than ever before. Low levels of physical activity and poor dietary habits are causes of childhood obesity, a condition associated with risk factors for adult chronic diseases.

Previous studies reveal that African American girls are more likely to be overweight than Caucasian girls. The trend continues into their adulthood, as 30 percent of younger (18-30 years) and 77 percent of older (45-65 years) black women are obese compared to 14 percent and 46 percent respectively, for their white counterparts. Overall, black women are 60 percent more likely to become obese than are white women. Women in minority groups are less physically active than the general American population, and the overall health status of people of color, including African American women, is lower than that of the general America population.

Obesity can lead to cardiovascular problems. Another disorder of the heart is Long QT Syndrome (LQTS), an inherited or acquired condition of the hearts electrical system. People with LQTS are at risk for syncope (loss of consciousness) and sudden death, often at a young age. Although it is known that African Americans have a higher incidence of obesity compared to Caucasians, race-specific information is not available for the prevalence of LQTS. Furthermore, while it is well known that chronic physical activity reduces the incidence of obesity, little is known about the effects of chronic physical activity on QT (time from electrocardiogram Q wave to the end of the T wave corresponding to electrical systole, or contraction and relaxation of the ventricles) duration.

A new research study, QTc is Related to Obesity and Physical Activity Level for African American Females, has been conducted by C. Jayne Brahler, Ph.D., Janine T. Baer. Ph.D.,

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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