College of Health Sciences


Community & Environmental Health

Graduate Level


Graduate Program/Concentration

Public Health

Publication Date





African Americans have a higher prevalence of obesity compared to any other racial/ethnic group due to a variety of factors, including socioeconomic status. This research paper presents a semi-systematic literature review revealing the impact socioeconomic status has on obesity among African American adults in the United States. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of this public health issue, we examined the risk factors, risk behaviors, and health outcomes surrounding obesity among this population. An informational web-based search was conducted using various research databases including PubMed, CINAHL, and EBSCOHost. The terms “obesity,” “African Americans, “ and “socioeconomic status” were utilized as common keywords, along with other MeSH terms. The overall pattern of results display a positive association between socioeconomic status and obesity among African Americans in the United States. Findings indicate that certain health behaviors such as unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, and lack of sleep can increase the chances of an individual becoming obese. Not only does indulging in these harmful activities pose an increased risk, but other health outcomes may arise as a result of being obese such as a reduced life expectancy and a variety of chronic conditions. It is essential that further examination is completed to serve as a foundation for creating preventative strategies for this population. Researchers can utilize the findings provided from this literature review to help decrease the obesity rates among African American adults in the United States.


obesity, socioeconomic status, african americans


Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health Education and Promotion



Download Poster (245 KB)

Role of Socioeconomic Status and Obesity in African American Adults