Systemic and Environmental Contributors to Obesity Inequities in Marginalized Racial and Ethnic Groups

Nurs Clin North Am. 2021 Dec;56(4):619-634. doi: 10.1016/j.cnur.2021.07.003.


Obesity is a multifactorial disease that disproportionally affects diverse racial and ethnic groups. Structural racism influences racial inequities in obesity prevalence through environmental factors, such as racism and discrimination, socioeconomic status, increased levels of stress, and bias in the health care delivery system. Researchers, clinicians, and policy makers must work to address the environmental and systematic barriers that contribute to health inequities in the United States. Specifically, clinicians should quantitatively and qualitatively assess environmental and social factors and proactively engage in patient-centered care to tailor available treatments based on identified needs and experiences.

Keywords: Health equity; Health inequities; Social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Environment*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Racial Groups*
  • Social Determinants of Health*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States