HEALTH

Exercise has less of an effect on black girls than white, study shows

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Young black girls are less affected by exercise than young white girls, a new study has found.

(Photo: Tobyotter via Flickr)

British researchers studied 1,100 girls ages 12 to 14 and saw that exercise had less of an effect in staving off obesity in black teenage girls than on white 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 HealthDay News.

The researchers, from the UK's Cardiff University in Wales, said that they are unsure as to why there is a discrepancy.

"At present, we don't know whether these differences can be attributed to genetics," White said.

Some studies found that black teens are consuming more calories than white teen girls, which may be potential reasoning for why exercise has less of an effect. But, White said there may be other considerations.

"These may be genetic, but we don't really know," White said.

Another expert said that lifestyle differences, and not just genetics, may be the reason, HealthDay News said.

The study comes amidst a growing rate of obesity among black teenage girls in the United States—putting them at higher risk of heart disease. According to a report by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health, the percentage of high school students who were obese in 2009 was 12.6 percent for black girls—compared to the 6.2 percent for white girls.

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