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Are Smartwatches Actually Used for Exercise? Evidence from HBCU Students

Richard Moye, Tangela Towns, Antonius Skipper & Daniel Rose

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Overall, Americans, and Black Americans in particular, are overweight. Researchers have found racial disparities in obesity across age groups, including children as young as preschool age. Nearly 20% of Black high school aged girls and 13.6% of Black high school aged boys are overweight. The rate of obesity among Black adults is 40%. Black women suffer higher rates of overweight and obesity when compared to Black men. Previous literature examining weight differences and racial variance among White and Black students at both Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and non-HBCUs illustrates that the likelihood of obesity for Black students attending HBCUs is higher when compared to Black students at a non-HBCU specifically odds ratios report obesity in 27.84% compared to 16.64%. Distinctively, the Sa et al. study reports that about 33.5% of Black males at HBCUs are overweight and 27.8% are obese. While 25.3% of Black females at HBCUs are overweight and 27.6% are obese. We note disparities as White male non-HBCU college students experience being overweight and obesity at the following rates (26.3% and 9.6% respectively). White female college students at non-HBCUs suffer less from being overweight and obesity than their white male counterparts at 18.2% and 8.8%, respectively. We may predict that the health behaviors learned as a younger person could forecast health behaviors and associated health outcomes as an adult. Obesity has several long-term health implications including increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

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