Nearly 4 out of 5 African American women are overweight or obese according to a 2012 study by the CDC. Last time I checked that statistic 3 years ago it was 50% of African American women. This rate has climbed at a ridiculously alarming rate. What are some of the reasons that African American women are larger than any other group in America? I honestly do not know and will be researching more into this topic. What I do know is that the majority of women around me are getting larger and larger with me as one of the major gainers.
I know the first thing people like to say is it’s the southern food making black women overweight. But really all of my friends including myself didn’t get this way sitting at home eating fried chicken and collard greens because we didn’t eat home cooked meals in the first place. We were out eating late at night and picking up fast food for our fast paced lives.
I have a theory about the complacency of being overweight for black women. I think the cultural acceptance of it has a larger impact than the fast food or the maintenance of hair. When most black women gain weight they tend to gain it in their derriere, thighs, and hips. We all know the obsession with big booties has every slightly overweight young girl claiming she is thick. I actually have heard of women not wanting to lose weight for fear of losing their behind.
I believe that in white American culture it is less acceptable to be thick or overweight as the men do not like it so much. I know Indians are weight conscious and Asians are definitely not having that. Black people and Hispanics are known for their curvaceous figures because that is just the way their men like it. And there is nothing wrong with that but there is a fine line between thick and unhealthy.
Another reason thrown out is that black women do not have safe places to work out because they don’t live in neighborhoods safe enough to walk or run around. LMAO- Sorry but I think that is hilar! That is just a stereotype that all black people live in the hood. Sorry but not sorry, the majority of African American women do not live in the hood and they have access to gyms just like everyone else. If not, I’m sure they have a living room and a DVD player.
Also there is more acceptance of being overweight in the community by friends and peers. Exercising isn’t exactly promoted heavily as a favorite thing to do among young black women. I’m not saying that we don’t work out but it goes more along the lines of just going to the gym or starting a workout regimen just to lose weight not for a healthy lifestyle. We also don’t do many outdoor activities. While I hate to generalize this is true for my own experiences. I’m sure there are many young African Americans who live active lifestyles doing outdoor activities.
I think we all can admit that when someone mentions skiing, mountain climbing, or some other extreme outdoor activity we say, that’s for white people. Sad but true. I don’t think an activity has a color barrier anyone can do anything they want. Peer pressure could be preventing young black women from pursuing more active lifestyles. We all know that we do what our peers are doing and if they’re aren’t doing it we’re more likely not to do it either. In the area of Atlanta that I live in there are always people outside running, whether it be 11am or 9pm they make it happen. I guess the saying holds some truth, When in Rome do as the Romans.
I have made the decision not to be another statistic. I used to be okay with being overweight until it got out of control and turned into obesity. I realize now that being at a healthy weight is uber important for your health, happiness, and optimum functionality of your body. Follow me on my journey to fitness and balance. I will be posting health tips, exercise tips, and motivation.
· U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
· The Office of Minority Health
For Great Fitness Tips for young busy women : http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/celebrate.htm