Table of Contents
ISRN Obesity
Volume 2013, Article ID 314295, 8 pages
Review Article

Obesity and African Americans: Physiologic and Behavioral Pathways

Department of Military and Emergency Medicine (MEM), Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS), Room 26, Building 53, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA

Received 13 December 2012; Accepted 31 December 2012

Academic Editors: S. A. Acra and M. Furuhashi

Copyright © 2013 Preetha Anna Abraham et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although progress has been made to understand the association between physiological and lifestyle behaviors with regard to obesity, ethnic differences in markers of obesity and pathways towards obesity remain somewhat unexplained. However, obesity remains a serious growing concern. This paper highlights ethnic differences in African Americans and Caucasians that may contribute to the higher prevalence of obesity among African Americans. Understanding ethnic differences in metabolic syndrome criteria, functioning of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, variations in glucocorticoid sensitivity and insulin resistance, and physical activity and cardiovascular fitness levels may help to inform practical clinical and public health interventions and reduce obesity disparities.