While diet and exercise have long been considered the magic bullet in helping curb the obesity epidemic among adolescents, new research shows that the latter doesn’t reap the same benefits for black girls as it does for whites.
In a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, researchers found that higher levels of physical activity at age 12 were associated with lower levels of obesity in white adolescent girls by the time they turned 14. Among black adolescent girls who moved the most at age 12, however, obesity at age 14 was nearly as likely as it was for those who exercised far less.
Study authors James White, PhD and Russell Jago, PhD, concluded that racial differences may predispose black girls to retaining fat accumulated during puberty, explaining the disparity. “Our results suggest that prompting adolescent girls to be active may be important to preventing obesity but that using different approaches (e.g. emphasizing reductions in energy intake) may be necessary to prevent obesity in black girls,” the authors wrote.
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