Responding to Health Disparities in Behavioral Weight Loss Interventions and COVID-19 in Black Adults: Recommendations for Health Equity

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Black adults. Obesity is a central factor in the severity of COVID-19 and related treatment, and while behavioral weight loss interventions are an efficacious treatment for obesity, Black men and women are consistently minimally represented in these studies and demonstrate lower weight loss under these interventions. This commentary, published in the February 2022 issue of Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, draws parallels between COVID-19 racial disparities, disparate obesity rates, weight loss treatment outcomes, and underlying systemic racial context.

Recommendations for Policy Practices

  • Expanding the research lens to prioritize Black scholars and institutions to generate innovative research questions
  • Creating trustworthy relationships with Black community members to bolster recruitment and retention
  • Employing qualitative methods to facilitate better intervention design and uncover influences of racialized social context
  • Centering Black adults in weight loss interventions
  • Using multilevel approaches that integrate policy into interventions

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