I recently rode the bus for a week in downtown Chicago. I was face to face with Black Obesity.
I saw Black women dressed in tights that were far too tight going to work. I was overwhelmed with tights and green/blue/yellow hair. Certainly they were not in line for a promotion. I wrote something about it on Facebook, only to receive thousands of amazing responses.
Obesity in the Black community is at an epidemic rate. I recently went on a diet, and lost about 25 pounds with a doctor’s program concentrated on protein. I wasn’t particularly happy with my dress size and too vain to say I was in the fat category.
Diet and exercise became ritual for me to get where I thought I should be. In doing so, I found that it was the small things that mattered, like the elimination of sugar and carbs. But most of all, I feel so much better and have a new source of energy, not to mention the clothes I found in the closet.
Lifestyle changes were appropriate for my purpose. I found myself preaching to my friends about weight and diet. I only approached the subject as my changes were noticed. It was often not a welcome conversation, so I often just silently listened to the aches-and-pains complaints that are directly attributable to weight issues.
African Americans Are Overweight
After doing a bit of research, I found that 75 percent of African Americans are overweight or obese, including 69 percent of men and 82 percent of women, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Simply said, Black women are too fat and we are teaching bad habits to our children, feeding them far too much sugar and a fast food diet.
Obesity rates tend to be higher in Black children. Nationally, in 2012, 20.5 percent of African-American girls were obese compared to 15.6 percent of White girls and 19 percent of African-American boys were obese compared to 12.6 percent of white Boys.
For youth from two to 19 years old, eight percent of African-American children are considered severely obese, with the severe weight gain occurring most often between the third and eighth grades.
African Americans are seriously eating themselves into the grave. This is a conversation often held with the late Dick Gregory, but I never agreed with his extremities on eating either.
The key is to be healthy and balanced. The key is nutrition and it should be taught in schools, as to what foods are healthy and what foods are not. Many churches haves taken it upon themselves to teach good, healthy habits.
Many Black women are taking to surgeries to eliminate fat, from stomach surgery to band laps to freezing the fat. I know of one woman who had head to toe liposuction. She was very pleased with the results. She had never been so thin.
She truly believed that the weight would not come back no matter what she did. She was convinced that she was fat free forever. But slowly she began to eat a cake or a pie a day for dessert and of course the weight returned in strange places. She had the procedure but never changed her lifestyle accordingly.
We are contracting diseases like diabetes and sometimes knee and hip replacements because of diet and weight. Your bones can only carry so much. The body works like a well-oiled machine if maintained properly.
A nutritionist told me once that most people took better care of their cars than they did their bodies. He asked if I took cod liver oil for example. My answer was no. He said, but you put oil in your car don’t you?
I have a male friend who is over 400 pounds and is having heart and leg problems. As I listened to him complain, I finally said you, too, would break down if you had to carry around 400 pounds every day. He got the point when doctors told him that before he would be eligible for knee/hip surgery, he would have to lose a minimum of 100 pounds.
“Physicians are seeing more and more children with a type of diabetes at the age of 10 that previously had not been seen until middle age.”
New Lifestyles Are In Order
I definitely don’t like the new county tax on sweetened beverages, but indeed if the pricing cuts down on the consumption of pop for our children to make them healthier, bravo. I hear too many kids and parents talking about potato chips and pop for breakfast, as well as sugar laced cereals. Where is the egg?
I talked to a doctor recently who mentioned that physicians are seeing more and more children with a type of diabetes at the age of about 10 years old that previously had not been seen until middle age. He contributed it to sugary diets.
I love farmers markets because the food is so fresh. But more importantly, I chat with the farmers about food as I make a discovery weekly, which is usually something I didn’t know about, or how a dish can be prepared differently.
The farmers ought to hold classes on fresh food. The fresh farm food offers a wonderful taste, with no salt and no sugar. There is nothing like fresh corn, tomatoes, garlic, summer squash and peppers for seasoning.
Physical activity is important to the weight issue. Studies have shown that as of 2010, African Americans were 70 percent less likely to engage in physical activity compared to whites.
As of 2013, 21.5 percent of Black youth did not participate in at least one hour of daily physical activity. It is important that children have gym at school and access to games in the public parks and recreation centers in their neighborhoods.
The rates of deaths from heart disease and stroke are almost twice as high among African Americans than Whites. There has much to do with the government, economic development issues, and health conditions around these matters, like food desserts in Black neighborhoods and lack of access to fresh food and the like.
But the first steps begin with each and every one of us and what we do and don’t put in our mouths.