Review of existing data on potential contributors to the development of obesity in at-risk populations has provided insights for the development of community-based interventions in the African-American community. Black women in the United States are disproportionately affected by obesity, with almost two-thirds considered obese based on body mass index. Obesity has been directly linked to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in black women. Therefore, understanding contributors to the genesis of obesity in black women is imperative. While biologic differences likely result in varying obesity prevalence across racial/ethnic groups, behaviors such as post-partum weight retention and limited leisure-time physical activity, may especially contribute to obesity in black women. Black women also appear to be particularly susceptible to cultural, psychosocial, and environmental factors that can promote weight gain. Therapeutic interventions are being tailored to specifically address these social determinants of health and to foster lifestyle modification. However, more work is needed to evaluate specific interventional tools that can counteract barriers to behavior change for black women. The current literature suggests that successful community-based interventions focused on obesity in black women should engage faith-based organizations, community organizations advocating for black women's health issues, and community advisory boards to design interventions promoting social support and environmental changes for lifestyle modification.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Zip Code
Leon, Benjamin; Miller 3rd, Bernard V; Zalos, Gloria et al. (2014) Weight Loss Programs May Have Beneficial or Adverse Effects on Fat Mass and Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight and Obese Black Women. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 1:140-147
Powell-Wiley, Tiffany M; Miller, Paige E; Agyemang, Priscilla et al. (2014) Perceived and objective diet quality in US adults: a cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Public Health Nutr 17:2641-9