Study Shows It’s Harder for Black Women to Lose Weight

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By Daphne R

Well the New Year is upon us and it’s always a time for making New Year’s resolutions of which one of the post popular is usually losing weight. But did you know it’s harder for black women to lose weight? The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine released results in the International Journal of Obesity of their recent study in which they discovered that black women have to work harder at losing weight than white women do.

In the study, they monitored the diets and exercise levels of black and white women and found that black women generally lost less weight than white women. Previously, when looking at similar results they found the same results, but previously they thought the difference was due to black women eating more than they actually reported.

‘At first, it was thought that perhaps the African-American women didn’t adhere as closely to their calorie prescriptions or that the interventions were not culturally sensitive,’ said James P. DeLany, PhD and lead investigator for the research. ‘But even in research projects that were designed to address those possibilities, the difference in weight loss remained.’

In this latest study, researchers looked more closely at the possibility that metabolism may have played a part in the differences, so they monitored body mass index and daily activity levels closely. They discovered that out of the 39 African American women and 66 white severely obese women that were monitored, black women on average lost seven pounds less than their white counterparts. Findings also indicated that black women have a lower resting metabolic rate. As a result, black women might have to work harder than white women to take off the same amount of weight.

‘We prescribe how many calories are allowed and how much activity is needed during weight loss interventions based on the premise that people of the same weight have similar metabolic rates,’ said DeLany. ‘But to account for their lower metabolic rate, African-American women must further reduce the number of calories they eat or use up more of them with exercise in order to lose the same number of pounds in the same time span as a Caucasian woman of the same weight.’

Statistics show that black women are the most overweight group of people in America. One of the reasons often used to explain this is the belief that African Americans like being fat, partly because its culturally acceptable. Of course, this line of thought has come under a blanket of scrutiny and critcism.

Studies show that there are other factors involved that are not within black women’s control. Researchers hope this knowledge will dissipate the negative air with which overweight black women are often assessed.



Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.


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