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Compared with whites, Blacks had 51% higher and Hispanics had 21% higher obesity rates, which is a risk factor for diabetes. To reduce racial and ethnic disparities in obesity and diabetes must intensify our efforts to create an environment for healthy living.
At least three reasons may account for the racial and ethnic differences in obesity. First, racial and ethnic groups differ in behaviors that contribute to weight gain; second explanation may be differences in individual attitudes and cultural norms related to body weight. A third explanation may be differences in access to affordable, healthful foods and safe locations to be physically active; this limited access may negatively impact diet and physical activity levels.
The high prevalence of obesity across all the racial/ethnic groups highlights the importance of implementing effective intervention strategies among the general U.S. population. Given the significant racial and ethnic disparities in obesity prevalence, it is also crucial to ensure that racial/ethnic groups with the greatest need benefit most from these intervention efforts and are engaged in helping identify effective strategies in their communities. To reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the prevalence of obesity, an effective public health response is needed that includes surveillance, policies, programs, and supportive environments achieved through the effort of government, communities, workplaces, schools, families, and individuals.