Effect of Group Racial Composition on Weight Loss in African Americans

The results of previous studies reveal that lifestyle interventions are effective in controlling weight loss, reducing blood pressure and managing diabetes. However, close inspection of these findings reveal that the actual amount of weight loss for African Americans is generally less than for their White counterparts. In this study, the researchers compared the impact on weight loss to African Americans of an all African-American intervention group compared to that of a racially mixed group. They hypothesized that the results would be improved for the all African-American group. A total of 678 African-American participants were enrolled at three study sites. Although group composition was varied, the intervention leaders remained constant.

Key Findings:

  • No statistically significant differences in weight loss between participants in the all African-American groups compared to the mixed race groups.
  • Mean weight loss was 4.4 kg and 60 percent of participants achieved minimum weight loss of 4 kg.
  • African-American men lost more weight than African-American women even after adjusting for BMI.

The fact that all participants had cardiovascular disease risk factors may have affected the results. The study concludes that further research is necessary to identify the effective components of culturally specific interventions.