New Study Says Exercise More Beneficial to Whites than Blacks


A new (and in our opinion absolutely ridiculous) study has surfaced in an attempt to show whites as being superior to blacks. The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine has published claims that exercise benefits whites more than blacks.


“In a dispiriting finding for African American girls and women, a new study finds that while engaging in high levels of physical activity is a good bet for preventing obesity in white adolescent girls, it does not give their black peers the same benefit” (Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2012).

Our Take

There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration when comparing the results of exercise regimens for blacks and whites.

The study lacks merit in that it was not a controlled study, meaning that there was no set exercise program given to the subjects in the study. This study was not done in a clinical environment, and to make such a bold claim that whites benefit more from exercise is ridiculous. A study with true merit would have compared the group of black and white girls only after completing a structured and professionally monitored exercise and nutrition program to ensure that each person in the study received and completed the exact same exercise and nutrition program.

Another thing to consider in this so called study are the measurements used to support their claim of exercise benefitting white more than black. The study used body mass index (BMI) and body fat percent. Body fat does not lie, so its inclusion in the study is necessary, however, BMI can be misleading. BMI is a measurement that compares body weight and height, to test for obesity, however higher BMI measurements are not always a clear indication that a person is obese. If a person has a higher bone density or more lean muscle mass, BMI cannot be use to provide an accurate picture of a person’s health.

Last but not least, this study does not address nutrition. Exercise is just one method to control obesity. Nutrition is a major competent in fighting obesity. Unfortunately, the African American diet is not always conducive in controlling obesity rates in our community. A lack of outreach and resources often leaves a larger number of American Americans with no choice but to eat what is in their local surroundings or what they can afford. Fast food and processed foods are often the only option, so comparing random black and white girls at the age of 14 and not taking exercise and nutrition into account provides skewed results.

The truth is that all human beings benefit from exercise. The treadmill, barbell, dumbbell, yoga and Pilates are color blind – they don’t decide to benefit whites more than blacks. Hard work and sweat produce the same results; a calorie burned is a calorie burned regardless of your ethnicity.

Keep working towards your goals! Your effort is NOT in vain.



Healy, M. (June 5, 2012). Exercise helps black adolescent girls less than whites, study says. Retrieved June 9, 2012.

Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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