Beyond Body Mass Index: Are Weight-loss Programs the Best Way to Improve the Health of African American Women?

Suggested citation for this article: Dodgen L, Spence-Almaguer E. Prev Chronic Dis 2017;14:160573. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd14.160573. African American women have higher prevalence (82%) of overweight (body mass index [BMI] 25–29) and obesity (BMI ≥30) than white women (63.2%) or Hispanic women (77.2%), and weight-loss programs yield minimal results in this population. We examine the concept of BMI as a measure of health for African American women and suggests a more holistic, multifaceted approach to preventing chronic disease. Rates of chronic disease, disability, and premature death among African American women are disproportionately high. Compared with non-Hispanic white women, African American women are...

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