Obesity and approaches to weight in an urban African-American community

Jeanne M. Clark, Lee R. Bone, Rebecca Stallings, Allan C. Gelber, Anne Barker, Scott Zeger, Martha N. Hill, David M. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe the prevalence of obesity, associated factors, and current approaches to weight in an inner city African-American community. Design: In-home survey by community health interviewers. Setting: Baltimore, Maryland. Participants: 2196 community residents identified in a probability sample of census blocks. Main Outcome Measures: Self-reported height and weight and calculated Body Mass Index (BMI), category of BMI, and stated weight goals. Results: Sixty percent of participants were overweight (BMI≥25 kg/m2), and 31% were obese (BMI≥30 kg/m2). In multivariate analysis, women, those earning $15,000-30,000, and those aged 45-60 were more likely to be obese; less likely to be obese were smokers, daily drinkers, and those with "good" or "excellent" health. Sixty-one percent of obese participants reported trying to lose weight, while 36% of normal weight participants were trying to gain weight. Of those trying to lose weight, 35% were using recommended approaches, and 26% received "the professional help they needed to control their weight." Conclusions: Although obesity was prevalent, few were using recommended weight loss strategies and a significant minority of normal weight participants were trying to gain weight, indicating a need for improved weight management and obesity prevention in the African-American community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-686
Number of pages11
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • African Americans
  • Obesity
  • Weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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