Online Program

Obesity: A health inequity affecting Black American women and adolescent females

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Megan Winkler, MSN, RNC-NIC, CPNP-PC, School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, NC
Jay Pearson, PhD, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM: Obesity disproportionately impacts the health and well-being of Black American women and adolescent females. While numerous investigations explore the contributions to obesity disparities from a biomedical paradigm—focusing on individual decision making, behaviors, and biological characteristics—this approach fails to fully explain the reasons obesity unduly affects Black American females.

APPROACH: A careful and reflexive review of the literature was conducted. Through an iterative and collaborative process, a conceptual model was created which reframes obesity among Black women and adolescent females not as a behavioral choice, but instead as a structurally derived health inequity.

OUTCOME: In this work, we lay out a conceptual framework which focuses on three social determinants of health (gender, race, and socioeconomic position) and their continual interaction and evolution to offer a novel assessment that more adequately explains obesity among Black American females and offers suggestions for more effective strategies to mitigate this public health crisis. To these ends, all constructs in the model are defined, their inter-relationships described, along with a presentation of supporting evidence for their inclusion.

IMPLICATIONS: The primary aims of this work are to recast obesity disparities afflicting Black women and adolescent females as health inequities. By doing so, a new set of research questions and directions for obesity investigations are generated, which will work to reduce social inequalities and subsequently improve the health and well-being for Black American females.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe how the intersection of three social determinants of health (gender, race, and socioeconomic position) operates to disproportionately impact Black American women and adolescent females to greater rates of obesity. Discuss novel obesity research directions which can more effectively reduce obesity among Black American females.

Keyword(s): Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD candidate at Duke University School of Nursing and a recipient of two grant awards, including an NIH-NINR F31, for my current dissertation work focused on obesity and dietary practices among Black American mothers and daughters. In the past two years, I completed both quantitative and qualitative obesity-related investigations. All of my work focuses on the contributors to obesity among vulnerable populations with an overall goal to reduce and prevent lifelong obesity-associated-outcomes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.