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Obesity-related Behaviors of Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Students at non-Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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Objective: We investigated racial differences in overweight and obesity among 4 subgroups: (1) Whites at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); (2) Whites at non-HBCUs; (3) Blacks at HBCUs; and (4) Blacks at non-HBCUs. Methods: We conducted multivariable logistic regression using cross-sectional data to examine correlates of overweight or obesity by race and school type among white and black students (N = 260,719) who completed the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment IIb from fall 2011 to spring 2015. Results: Among men, more Whites at HBCUs than Whites at non-HBCUs (22.22% vs 9.67%; p < .001) and more Blacks at HBCUs than Blacks at non-HBCUs (27.84% vs 16.64%; p < .001) had obesity. Among women, more Whites at HBCUs than Whites at non-HBCUs (25.82% vs 8.80%; p < .001) and more Blacks at HBCUs than Blacks at non-HBCUs (27.62% vs 20.58%; p < .001) had obesity. Overall, highest adjusted odds ratios for overweight and obesity were observed for Blacks at HBCUs (p < .001). Conclusions: Findings suggest the need for implementation of aggressive overweight and obesity prevention strategies for students at HBCUs. Additional research is needed to understand determinants of overweight and obesity among students at HBCUs.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2020

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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