Distribution and association of chronic disease and mobility difficulty across four body mass index categories of African-American women

Daniel O. Clark, Simon M. Mungai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


A majority of African-American women over the age of 50 are obese, have at least one chronic disease, and experience mobility difficulty. Using self- reported data from the 1992 Health and Retirement Study of 1,150 African- American women aged 30-70 years, this report first compares chronic disease prevalence and severity, pain, sensory deficits, and mobility difficulty across four categories of body mass index and, second, investigates whether body mass index affects the association of chronic disease with mobility difficulty. Body mass index was categorized as low, medium, high, and severe, being equal to 19-24 (20%), 25-29 (38%), 30-34 (24%), and 35 or over (18%), respectively. There were few differences when comparing the medium category with either the low or high category. Those in the severe body mass index category, however, reported significantly more frequent and severe hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, pain, sensory deficits, and mobility difficulty than did those in the medium body mass index category. Obesity did not appear to affect the association between chronic disease and mobility difficulty. The relatively high rates of mobility difficulty observed among the severe body mass index group appear to be more likely a result of relatively high chronic disease prevalence and severity than to a disproportionate impact of these on mobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-875
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1997



  • blacks
  • body mass index
  • chronic disease
  • movement
  • obesity
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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