One problem with that observation was that it suggested obesity and overweight would be difficult to curtail because such characteristics were so slow and hard to change, scientists say.
A new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows that is not uniformly true for both sexes and various ethnic-racial groups.
"We found that overweight was lower among white girls from higher-income, better-educated families than among other white girls, but overweight did not similarly decrease with high income and education among black girls," said Dr. Penny Gordon-Larsen, assistant professor of nutrition at the UNC School of Public Health and a fellow at the Carolina Population Center. "We can't say for certain why that's true, but it's good news in the sense that it shows that focusing on other things such as social and environmental factors might allow us to prevent or reduce overweight better among some groups of adolescents.
"Obesity is a huge problem for all groups of adolescents, but it's particularly a problem among minority populations," she said. "Among the health problems it creates or makes worse are diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure."
Gordon-Larsen is lead author of a report on the study appearing in the January issue of Obesity Research, the top obesity journal. Her co-authors are Drs. Linda Adair and Barry M. Popkin, associate professor and professor, respectively, of nutrition and fellows at the Carolina Population Center.
The research team set out to investigate why obesity is higher in minority groups. They analyzed nationally representative data collected from 13,113 U.S. adolescents enrolled in the UNC-based National Longitud
Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill