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New Study Says African American Girls Benefit Less From Exercise In Fight Against Obesity. But Is It Exercise Or Food Choices?


The Los Angeles Times is running a story this morning regarding a newly released study that demonstrates that exercise is not as beneficial for African American girls in fighting obesity as it is for “white” girls.


“The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that among black adolescent girls who moved the most at age 12, obesity at age 14 was nearly as likely as it was for those whose activity rates were far lower.


For white girls, by contrast, regular exercise at 12 appeared a nearly sure way to head off obesity at 14. That finding held, even when the calorie intakes of an African American youngster and her white counterpart were the same.”


Of course the immediate question is why?  The researches express that part of the problem is that African Americans are at a metabolic disadvantage.  In other words African American girls don’t burn fat as effectively as “white” girls.


But we wonder if it could be more than that.  The authors of the study said the differences were true even when caloric intake was the same.  But not all those calories are equal.  For many African Americans their economic situation requires them to dine off the 1$ menu at places like McDonalds that have highly processed foods and use such ingredients as high fructose corn syrup.  We believe that the culprit for African Americans and obesity is that our food choices are poor and we expose ourselves to chemicalized foods that are bodies do not know how to process effectively.


The First Lady has been pushing her “Just Move” campaign for three years now.   While her program focuses on exercise, it also focuses on making good food choices and eating the right type of food.  It is time for our community to move away from the $1 menu and start eating healthier organic foods.  For many that will be an economic challenge because organic/healthy food costs more.  The cost factor though should be a reason for our elected officials to push for policies that bring the costs of those foods down.  We know firsthand it that it costs less for our society to provide easier and cheaper access to organic foods than it is to treat chronic and debilitating diseases such as diabetes.


We also want to stress that this type of information raises the question of why we do not have a unified effort to create research centers that focus on the healthcare issues that affect our community.  With so many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) we should be able to pool our resources and create the research centers that we need to combat these types of health issues.  If we are not willing to do the research, no one else will.


You can read the abstract of the study conducted by James White, PhD and Russell Jago, PhD by following the link to the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.  You can read the L.A. Times article by following the link.  We hope you will share this story with friends and family and have the discussion on you can improve your diets.