Study: Black Women More Likely Than Whites To Put On Pounds Under Stress

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A stressed-out black woman is more likely to gain weight than a stressed-out white woman, according to a new study.

Even as white women are stressed out more often, the effect of chronic stress on a woman’s waistline is much stronger among black women, according to a new study from researchers at UCLA.

The study, which was recently published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine, found that chronic stress affected a black woman’s body-mass index every two years at a rate greater than one and a half times than that of a white woman. The research discovered that chronic stress brought about a 0.8-unit BMI increase every two years in black women, while white women have a 0.55-unit BMI increase during that same time period.

“Psychological stress may lead to weight gain through behavioral pathways, such as increased food consumption and sedentary lifestyles, but also directly through prolonged exposure to biological stress mediators such as cortisol,” the researchers wrote in a news release.

Researchers placed emphasis that part of the findings and reasoning for the disparity in obesity rates is the psychological stress that black women experience from a “perceived racial discrimination.”

The study looked at almost 2,400 black and white girls. According to the study, they were followed for as long as 10 years starting from when the girls were 10 years old.

The research adds another layer to the fight against obesity nationwide. The study also found that the obesity rate for black women is 50 percent higher than in white women.

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