Ethnic minorities; Low-income; Minority youth; Obesity; Poor youth; Youth


Community-Based Research | Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health | Place and Environment | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity


The obesity rates of Job Corps students, a predominantly ethnic minority and low income group of youth, are unknown. The purpose of this project was to examine obesity rates among these youth as well as their weight-related perceptions and behavior. First, medical charts (N=641) of all Job Corps students (ages 16-25) who were enrolled in the program in the past year were examined for height and weight. In the second phase of the study, 344 Job Corp students were recruited and information on weight perceptions, knowledge of obesity consequences, and weight loss behavior were examined. Almost half of the participants were overweight or obese. Overweight males were less likely to perceive themselves as being overweight than females. The majority of participants were aware of obesity-related health consequences but of those with past weight loss attempts, only 13% reported using both exercise and diet. High levels of overweight and obesity among Job Corps students are likely to impact employment and career goals. Evidence-based obesity interventions for Job Corps students are needed.