While rates of obesity in the U.S. have risen rapidly over the past few decades, the greatest increases have been seen in African American women, half of whom are currently classified as obese.

Obesity is a risk factor for numerous health conditions including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and orthopaedic problems.

Scientists said that racism is a form of psychosocial stress that African Americans experience disproportionately.

It is thought that experiences of racism contribute to obesity. Data suggests that chronic exposure to stress can result in dysregulation of important neuroendocrine functions, (interactions between the nervous and endocrine systems) which can influence the accumulation of excess body fat.