"While we're all generally getting fatter, the real burden of morbid obesity is falling disproportionately on one group of Americans: black women. According to a 2002 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), women in general are about twice as likely as men to be morbidly obese, but a sobering 1 in 6 Black women is that overweight--"
--from microtrends, the small forces beind tomorrow's big changes , by Mark J. Penn, with E. Kinney Zalesne (emphasis mine)
My sistahs deserve better. While I've always appreciated and benefited from the African-American cultural admiration of the classic coke-bottle figure, as a group we've gone way beyond that. This is no longer about a subjective standard of beauty. This is our health and happiness we're risking. We are the fattest group of people in one of the fattest countries on the planet, and we have black female celebrities telling us to embrace our obesity. Am I the only one who thinks that's crazy?
Should we embrace being out of breath from a walk around the block? Should we embrace avoiding stairs because our knees ache from carrying the extra bulk? Should we embrace a future tainted by diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression?
How surprised I was to look at a BMI chart and find out I qualified as obese! At just over 5'4" and 176 lbs (that's where I stopped weighing myself, but I'm pretty sure I added a couple after that), it seems ridiculous that the discovery could come as a shock. I knew I was fat. That was obvious, but I had never applied a medical term, like "obesity" to my state. Fortunately for me, I made the necessary changes, and the term no longer fits.
Looking around at social events, or at a local mall, or a predominantly black church, I can't help but notice it. We're outpacing everyone in growing wider. The good thing is, it's preventable and reversible. If you're in shape, reach out to someone who isn't. Invite them over for a healthy meal or out for a walk. Be the one who brings a delicious but healthy dish to the next family dinner. If you're a little out of shape, decide if you're satisfied, but if you're just plain fat, be real about it. Take a serious look at your habits and address the ones that got you there. Forget the fad diets and other extreme solutions, but seek out help if you don't know where to start.
Life is too short to spend it avoiding dressing room mirrors, so we don't have to face our hips and thighs, or crashing on the couch because getting up and doing something takes too much effort. Black women, believe me, you deserve better.