A data review of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggeststhat obesity has increased significantly among higher-income groups,compared with groups with lower incomes. Weight gain over a 30-year periodwas reviewed, and the greatest increase was found among middle-incomeblack women, a group that experienced a 27% increase in obesity, comparedwith a 15% increase among poor black women. Among black menearning the most income, obesity increased by 21%, comparedwith an increase of 5% among black men earningthe least income. Wealthy white women showed thesmallest increase in obesity rates. As white womenof all economic levels gain weight, those in thehighest income bracket appear to be maintainingtheir weight over the same length of time.Factors associated with weight gain mayinclude more sedentary jobs, sedentaryleisure activities, increased portion sizes,and increased food advertising. Studyauthors suggested that wealthy whitewomen "may be more able to resist theseforces or take compensatory action."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.