If you turn on the television, open a newspaper or magazine you are already aware the health of our fellow citizens is in stark decline. The Center for Disease Control projects that by the year 2050 one-third of the population will suffer from type II Diabetes. As a result of obesity this generation of children are in danger of living a shorter life than their parents. Childhood obesity is ensuring this trend continues for generations to come. Type II diabetes may seem like a harmless disease, but make no make mistake – this disease often referred to as “sugar” is a killer.
Obesity and being overweight take a toll on the body, the mind and the spirit. It can devastate whole families and whole communities. Between 2009 and 2010 about 36% of the adult population was overweight or obese. Being slightly overweight (20-30lbs) does carry with it some risks. These risks are generally controlled with healthy lifestyle choices. When you move into the morbidly obese category that’s where you begin to see the devastating effects of the extra weight. This population struggles with high blood pressure, joint issues, type II diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol. These states of being for most are beyond simply making better lifestyle choices, they are medically and, sometimes, medically managed. However eating better and exercise is the start to reversing this conditions. These conditions are also preventable with diet and exercise.
Black women are disproportionately impacted by this epidemic. Four out of five black women are overweight or obese. They are 70% more likely than a white woman to be obese. There are several contributing factors to this disparity. The first thing to consider is that overweight/obesity is based on the BMI scale. The BMI scale doesn’t take muscle mass into account. This has often not been a measurement that accurately depicts a black woman’s body type. In general black women tend to have a heavier set body type in terms of bone and muscle structure. If a black woman is an athlete she tends to build more muscle than her white female counterpart. Not too mention, black women carry a little more “meat on their bones”. Along with BMI a person should look at their percentage of body fat.
Another thing to consider is that black women are more likely than white woman to live in a low-income neighborhood. These neighborhoods are also notorious food desserts where it’s hard to get access to fresh vegetables and fruits. Lastly, black women who aren’t athletes don’t exercise as much as their white female counterparts. Again, this could may attributed to lack of access to green space and physical education classes in school. We’ll get into the whole messing up the hair thing later. This is a continuing trend for our young black girls who, over the same time frame, were 80% more likely to be overweight than their white counterparts.
There is no choice but to reverse this trend. This trend is leading to heart attack, stroke, limb amputations, and motherless children in our communities.
I’m just keeping it new.