White women who do little or no exercise as they age are more apt to become obese later in life more so than African-American women, according to a new study.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University say they studied data from 22,948 African-American women and 7,830 white women in 12 Southeastern U.S. states.  The odds of severe obesity were nearly 4.5 times higher in white women and 1.5 times higher in black women.  The director of the study, Dr. Maciej Buchowski, says the reasons for the racial disparity is unclear but may have something to do with culture or difference in metabolism between the two groups.

According to the researchers, the women involved in the study were economically disadvantaged and in their 40s and 50s. 

So perhaps the real question is do poor white women have a more difficult time being healthy than poor black women?  And if so, why?