The “Weight Problem” and African American women

Did you know, that 50 – 60% of African American women are categorized as being overweight?  So the first thing we must do in the African American community is admit that we have a problem.  There are several reasons for this problem, such as demographics, our cultural norms, diet, and lack of exercise.

In the African American community it’s good when a women is called “thick” or “big”.  it means she fine, and good for bearing children .  As a result it is culturally acceptable for African American women to have big butts, hips and thighs.  African American men love larger women with a little meat on their bones; and this can be traced back to the days of slavery.  (I discuss my opinion of the African American man in a later blog).

Culturally speaking African American women have thrived off “soul food”.  And although these meals taste good, the way in which it’s prepared makes it completely unhealthy.  Food is not the only reason for unhealthy food choices; low incomes, single parent families, and habits of overeating can also lead to unhealthy food choices.  However, obesity among African American women effects women at all income levels.

All magazines, commercials and clothing stores, etc. emphasize the slender body image.  The slender body image definitely affects some African American women and the majority non-african american women, but it’s definitely not the majority.  So what do we do?  Should African American women continue with tradition and culture and disregard the popularity of the slender image?  Or are they risking their health and well-being by not conforming?  The mass media holds most of us to ransom, so if African American women conform, who stands to gain?

I really would like your feedback on this topic. Am I way off base? Or am I missing something?  I have more blogs to write on this topic, so I hope to have your input as I begin on this new journey.

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