Curry, Gwenetta Denise (2016-05). The Relationship Between Education and Obesity Among Black Women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Cycles 1999-2010. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Although the obesity epidemic in America has begun to level off in recent years, Black women's rates have continued to increase. The latest Center for Diseases Prevention and Control (CDC) numbers show that 56.6% of Black women are considered to be obese compared to 44.4% Hispanic and 32.8% of white women. These numbers simply highlight the need for a deeper understanding of what factors increase the risk of obesity for Black women. This dissertation begins by exploring the current literature on factors that influence obesity rates and linking educational attainment to health outcomes. The 1999-2010 years of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were combined for these analyzes. I examine the prevalence of obesity among Black women from 1999-2010 by education and age groups. The results show that Black women with some education and associate degree and age group 20-39 had the highest rates of obesity. Next, I ran multiple, logistic, and multinomial regressions to determine which factors are associated the obesity in Black women. The results indicate that C-reactive protein levels >0.3 mg/dl had a positive association with obesity. C-reactive protein was used to measure exposure to stress triggering an inflammation response. The results also indicate that Black women have increased odds of being obese if they worked more than 46 hours a week. Fruits and vegetable intake was not associated with body mass index of Black women. Lastly, physical activity was only positively associated with body mass index of Black women with Some College and Associate degrees. These data indicate there is a real need to focus on Black women's health and the impact their environment has on their health behaviors and health outcomes.

publication date

  • May 2016