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Exploring Racial Differences in the Obesity Gender Gap


Seamans, Marissa J.; Robinson, Whitney R.; Thorpe, Roland J.; Cole, Stephen R.; & LaVeist, Thomas A. (2015). Exploring Racial Differences in the Obesity Gender Gap. Annals of Epidemiology, 25(6), 420-425. PMCID: PMC4433605


Purpose: To investigate whether the gender gap in obesity prevalence is greater among US Blacks than Whites in a study designed to account for racial differences in socioeconomic and environmental conditions.
Methods: We estimated age-adjusted, race-stratified gender gaps in obesity (female obesity minus male obesity, defined as BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) in the National Health Interview Survey 2003 (NHIS) and the Exploring Health Disparities in Integrated Communities-Southwest Baltimore 2003 study (EHDIC-SWB). EHDIC-SWB is a population-based survey of 1381 adults living in two urban, low-income, racially integrated census tracts with no race difference in income.
Results: In NHIS, the obesity gender gap was larger in Blacks than Whites: 7.7 percentage-points (ppts) (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.4, 11.9) in Blacks versus -1.5 ppts (95% CI: -2.8, -0.2) in Whites. In EHDIC-SWB, the gender gap was similarly large for Blacks and Whites: 15.3 ppts (95% CI: 8.6, 22.0) in Blacks versus 14.0 ppts (95% CI: 7.1, 20.9) in Whites.
Conclusions: In a racially integrated, low-income urban community, gender gaps in obesity prevalence were similar for Blacks and Whites.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Annals of Epidemiology


Seamans, Marissa J.
Robinson, Whitney R.
Thorpe, Roland J.
Cole, Stephen R.
LaVeist, Thomas A.