Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

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African American Health and Nutrition Issues

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Cultural factors, including traditional diets and exercise habits, can increase obesity among some minority groups, particularly African Americans and Hispanics. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only about one-fourth of U.S. adults eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. African Americans consume less than half the amount of vegetables that Caucasians consume.

Health organizations estimate that 300,000 people in the United States die each year from obesity-related diseases. Obesity can lead to diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even some cancers. Obesity rates have doubled among children and tripled among teenagers since 1980, with unhealthy diet and lack of exercise contributing to this epidemic. Obesity could soon overtake smoking as the leading killer of Americans.

According to health organizations:

-- More than half of African American and Hispanic women are obese.

-- One in four African American women over age 55 has diabetes.

-- 2.7 million African Americans over age 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes. That accounts for 13 percent of all African Americans.

-- African American women have the highest prevalence of obesity at 50.8 percent.

-- Among women, the black population has the highest prevalence of overweight (78 percent) and obesity (50.8 percent).

-- African Americans are at higher risk for hypertension than any other race or ethnic group. It tends to be more common, it happens at an earlier age, and it is more severe for many African Americans.

-- More than 2.7 million African Americans over age 20 have diabetes, a condition that can be related to obesity. One-third of them do not even know it.

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Division of Marketing and Development
Bureau of Development and Information
The Mayo Building
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800

Yolanda Roundtree
(850) 617-7330
(850) 617-7331 Fax

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