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Exercise for Weight Control More Effective for White Teen Girls than Black Peers: Study

Update Date: Jun 07, 2012 01:40 PM EDT

A new study has revealed that exercise for weight control is more likely to be effective for white teenage girls than for their black peers.

A research conducted in Britain studied more than 1,100 girls aged between 12 and 14 and concluded that the bodies of white girls were more sensitive towards exercise compared to black girls.

"Higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower risk of obesity among white girls but not among black girls," wrote study authors James White and Russell Jago, according to Health Day.

According to the information provided in the study, obesity rate is alarmingly high among black teen girls compared to other U.S youths, hence raising concern for heart disease among them. Also, it says that around four in five black American women are overweight.

"At present, we don't know whether these differences can be attributed to genetics," said White, a researcher at Cardiff University in Wales.  "These may be genetic, but we don't really know."  

There are other studies which have found that the calorie intake in black girls is more, compared to white peers.

Thus, the racial difference in obesity could also be attributed more to lifestyle differences and not just to genetics, believes at least one expert according to the report.

White and Jago, of the University of Bristol in England, studied the factors associated with obesity and the development of heart disease risk factors for 538 black and 610 white girls.

The girls' TV viewing habits, obesity, daily calorie intake, etc. were studied for the study and the results revealed that white girls were more active at age 12 than black girls. Black girls were found to watch more TV than white girls and have higher body mass index(BMI) and more body fat percentage.

However, the study revealed that there was no link between physical activity levels and obesity among black girls.

Black teen girls need to be encouraged to exercise, however, the other factors influencing weight gain also need to be considered, said the authors.

"Our findings require replication before any real recommendations can be made," White said. "They do, however, suggest that black girls should be particularly attentive in controlling their caloric intake."

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