Understanding Our Society Will Help Us Understand Obesity: An Interview with Angela Odoms-Young, PhD


Dr. Angela Odoms-Young, an associate professor in Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, studies the ways in which cultural and environmental factors influence diet and related health conditions, particularly in communities of color.  Dr. Odoms-Young’s research illuminates the roots of the obesity crisis within the Black community including poor food environments, stress, trauma, a lack of economic opportunity and the lack of active transportation and safe places for physical activity.

“We need to think of obesity as an outcome,” Dr. Odoms-Young said. “If you look at the conditions under which Black people live, those conditions over years have created what we see today. The fact that people of color are disproportionately impacted makes perfect sense because generally society has restricted their access to resources.”

According to TFAH’s State of Obesity 2021: Better Policies for a Healthier America report, while obesity is a problem across all racial and ethnic groups – 42 percent of all U.S. adults have obesity – Blacks have the highest rate of obesity in the country. Nearly half of all Black adults in the U.S. (49.6 percent) have obesity.  The rate is even higher for Black women at 56.9 percent. Read the full interview with Angela Odom-Young, PhD