Even a cursory review of data on the health status of women reveals striking differences by race. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, death rates among Black women from the three leading causes of death (cardiac disease, cancer and cerebrovascular disease) exceed those of white, Asian, Native American and Latina women for each age category from 45-84. With the exception of Black women, the death rates among white women from these diseases exceed those of other ethnic groups of women. Data on two of the risk factors for cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases (hypertension and obesity), show that rates among Black women exceed those of white women by a ratio of 2:1. Overall, the age-adjusted obesity rate between 1976-1980 was 44% among Black women and 24% among white women between the ages 20-74. The 1988-1991 obesity rates for Black and white women were 50% and 34% respectively.


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