Social context explains race disparities in obesity among women

Sara N. Bleich, Roland J. Thorpe, Hamidah Sharif-Harris, Ruth Fesahazion, Thomas A. Laveist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Background National data do not account for race differences In health risks resulting from racial segregation or the correlation between race and socioeconomic status. Therefore, these data may inaccurately attribute differences in obesity to race rather than differing social context. The goal of this study was to investigate whether race disparities in obesity among women persist in a community of black people and white people living in the same social context with similar income. Methods Race disparities In obesity were examined among black women and white women living in the same social context with similar income, using the data from the Exploring Health Disparities in Integrated Communities-SWB (EHDIC-SWB) study, and these estimates were compared to national data (National Health Interview Survey) to determine if race disparities In obesity were attenuated among women In EHDICSWB. Obesity was based on participants' self-reported height and weight. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between race and obesity. Results In the national sample, black women exhibited greater odds of being obese (OR 1.99, 95% Cl 1.71 to 2.32) than white women after controlling for covariates. In the EHDIC-SWB sample, black women had similar odds of being obese (OR 1.25, 95% Cl 0.90 to 1.75) as compared to white women, after adjusting for covariates. Conclusions There are no race disparities in obesity among poor, urban women sharing the same social context. Developing policies that focus on modifying social aspects of the environment may reduce disparities in obesity among low-income women living in urban communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-469
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of epidemiology and community health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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