Until recently, researchers have focused most of their attention on psychosocial factors that contribute to obesity and related behaviors, such as diet and physical activity. However, there is increasing recognition of the important role that environmental factors play in these behaviors.
Between 1980 and 2000, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity doubled, rising to 31% of U.S. adults, ages 20 to 74. Since then, the prevalence rate has continued to rise.4 Obesity is a major health concern among African Americans; the prevalence of obesity in African American women exceeds rates for all other racial, ethnic, and gender groups (for example, 54% of African American women are obese, compared with 30% of non-Hispanic white women). Nurses, too, find excess weight gain a common health challenge. (Author introduction)