U.S. waistlines began ballooning about 30 years ago, but today, African Americans carry around more weight than people of other races, and that can spell disaster. “Because of this, black people also tend to have higher rates of other chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Justin G. Trogdon, PhD, a health economist at RTI International, a nonprofit research group.

Indeed, a recent study conducted by Duke University predicts a 42 percent increase in obese adults by the year 2030, with related health conditions to cost $550 billion to treat. As a result, in recent years, states and the federal government launched anti-obesity campaigns to promote healthier lifestyles. But Trogdon suggests we also use common-sense ways to fight the fat. “As a community, help make healthy choices easier for people. For example, at the next church picnic, eat grilled chicken instead of fried, or fruit instead of cake for dessert.”