Magazine article USA TODAY

African-Americans Fatter, Less Fit Than Caucasians

Magazine article USA TODAY

African-Americans Fatter, Less Fit Than Caucasians

Article excerpt

Race may play an important role in determining a person's obesity and fitness levels, according to a study showing that African-American patients had a higher level of obesity and a lower exercise capacity compared to Caucasians, with the most pronounced difference found between black and white males.

'There is a popular belief among the lay public, and by many clinicians, that African-Americans are more fit than Caucasian patients. However, our findings suggest this is not the case," contends Carl J. Lavie, Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans. "Despite being older, Caucasian patients in our study had significantly higher exercise capacities and lower obesity levels than African-Americans, suggesting that some races may be more susceptible to increases in weight and decreases in fitness levels."

Lavie and colleagues studied 4,428 Caucasian and 641 African-American patients, ages 52 to 74, who were referred for an exercise stress test for the detection of coronary artery disease (CAD). Exercise capacity was determined using a standard treadmill test, and obesity status was determined by body mass index (BMI). …

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