This study examines the independent effects of neighbourhood context (i.e. neighbourhood poverty) and exposure to perceived discrimination in shaping risk of obesity over time. Weighted three-level hierarchical linear regression models for a continuous outcome were used to assess the independent effects of neighbourhood poverty and perceived discrimination on obesity over time in a sample of 157 non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic White and Hispanic adults in Detroit, USA, in 2002/2003 and 2007/2008. Independent associations were found between neighbourhood poverty and perceived discrimination with central adiposity over time. Residents of neighbourhoods with high concentrations of poverty were more likely to show increases in central adiposity compared with those in neighbourhoods with lower concentrations of poverty. In models adjusted for BMI, neighbourhood poverty at baseline was associated with a greater change in central adiposity among participants who lived in neighbourhoods in the second (B=3.79, p=0.025) and third (B=3.73, p=0.024) poverty quartiles, compared with those in the lowest poverty neighbourhoods. The results from models that included both neighbourhood poverty and perceived discrimination showed that both were associated with increased risk of increased central adiposity over time. Residents of neighbourhoods in the second (B=9.58, p<0.001), third (B=8.25, p=0.004) and fourth (B=7.66, p=0.030) quartiles of poverty were more likely to show greater increases in central adiposity over time, compared with those in the lowest poverty quartile, with mean discrimination at baseline independently and positively associated with increases in central adiposity over time (B=2.36, p=0.020). The results suggest that neighbourhood poverty and perceived discrimination are independently associated with a heightened risk of increase in central adiposity over time. Efforts to address persistent disparities in central adiposity in the USA should include strategies to reduce high concentrations of neighbourhood poverty as well as discrimination.