Black and Obese

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post today. In so many words, it stated that researchers have found that there is a link between race, location and obesity. The District (Washington DC for all of you slow folks) has one of the “widest” (no pun intended) racial divides when it comes to obesity. 8% of whites are considered obese in the District and 31% of blacks. However, if you go to other neighboring jurisdictions, the gap lessens which is kind of interesting.

I never really considered location a factor in the obesity debate. Now race…..I’ve tossed race around in my head a few times especially since over the last couple of years, I’ve seen an increase in the number of obese black people.

But this article got me to thinking. Surely, some of “us” have a problem with doctors. It’s almost like we’re allergic to them. We don’t like them. We don’t go so issues that could otherwise be prevented or controlled through early detection become more of an enemy.

We don’t exercise. The only exercise you might catch us doing is bonin’ (it’s good cardio though)

We don’t eat right. We will throw down on the fried foods and grease-ridden meals in a heartbeat.

But location? That’s a good observation there Mr. Researcher.

Depending on the area that we live in, we may not have the options to eat right. The golden arches on one corner, P.opeyes on the other and don’t forget the carry-out. Yeah, we need our carry-out that sells Chinese food and subs. And we have our soul food restaurants – chitterlings anyone?

How many exercise spots do we have in the ‘hood? How many chin ups can you do on the light post?

Location breeds access. The suburbs right outside the metropolitan cities have access. They have gyms, fitness clubs and yoga and W.hole F.oods and organic markets and restaurants. They have access. They have opportunities.

So what do you think? Does obesity come down to the limiting factors like location and access or is it a matter of getting your ass up off the couch and doing something?


~ by alwaysfunkyfresh on November 7, 2007.

12 Responses to “Black and Obese”

  1. You know that as I get older, fitness has become more of an interest to me. I read all of this stuff and yes, they may be on to something. In addition, it is cheaper to eat unhealthy foods than healthy foods. Organic = Expensive.

    That being said, last night on the Biggest Loser…..the show went green and each person was forced to workout old school….no machines, no treadmills or ellipticals. They went outside and ran, hiked, did pushups, etc…

    Many of them reported their biggest weight losses. Exercise is FREE and available to everyone no matter where you are.

  2. I agree with 1969, the majority is getting your ass off the couch and doing something, walking in your neighborhood or at the local track is free. However studies have also shown that grocery stores located in highly black populated areas tend to carry produce that isn’t fresh and offer products that Whole Foods would never sell, such as chittlins, hog maws, pork rinds, etc. that increase our risk for high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
    We have to learn how to make better choices.

  3. I agree with 1969. Exercise can be free, but let’s be realistic even on the Biggest Loser, without those superproficient trainers, odds are that BL participants wouldn’t have a clue as to how to work out without that gym during the first week of the show.

    I think it’s bigger than not getting enough exercise. I think it has more to do with overeating the WRONG things because this is what your mother ate and her mother before her.

  4. ^^^ i TOTALLY agree. the tradition of eating unhealthy foods has been passed down through generations of black families. cause ‘can’t nobody cook like mama.’ and that’s the problem. also, i do agree that it is somewhat based on location too. when i lived in the city it was sooo hard to find a grocery store that had produce and healthy foods that wasn’t two days away from the expiration date.

    and going running in the city? STOP IT. exercise is free, but in the society where all black women think being fat is ‘thick’ and being obese is ‘more cushion for the pushin’, there are few black women that are really trying to LOSE weight. i get teased all the time for being too skinny and ‘anorexic’, when i am not really that skinny.

    when it goes out of style to be ‘thick’ i think more women will exercise and think healthier.

  5. *let me add….i DO think that it is possible to be thick and healthy, but when 78% of black women are overweight, and 50% are obese, i just don’t see that as healthy. there has to be a line where we realize that we are obese and not just ‘thick’ anymore.

    so while location may have some influence in it, i think it is mainly the fact of our culture liking the curvy, and taking it to the extreme.

  6. Great comments. Muze, I agree….that “thick” mentality is not cute. I see young girls that are obese….I can’t imagine what will happen as they get older.

    Most of us were skinny when we were kids. When did the paradigm shift?

  7. These are all great comments. Hey Sixty, maybe there was a paradigm shift when music videos became more prevalent in our society. More visual images of acceptance of “thick”. Who knows? Maybe I’m reaching. I don’t know when things changed.

    There has definitely been a “mental” paradigm shift but it’s almost at the point where I think people are fooling themselves. I’m all for self-confidence and believing in yourself but I’m also all for being healthy. There’s a lot of people out there who just “don’t give a f*ck”. That’s what they say. I’m gonna die anyway so I might as well eat what I want when I want how I want. It takes work to get someone to “see” things differently and some just don’t want to put forth the effort.

  8. I don’t think it’s expensive to eat healthy. I mean beans and brown rice is cheap….People don’t know how to COOK nowadays so yes, healthy CONVENIENCE food is expensive….I used to live in Silver Spring and Whole foods is kinda expensive so I went right up the road to Shoppers to bought my brown rice, broccoli (and ben and jerry’s too) I think people are misinformed about what they should be puttin in their bodies. Ancestry wise, Africans didn’t eat what we eat now, little meat, mostly fish, and very little dairy. The typical American diet is in a lot of ways, a European diet. As far as location, I think stress may be a factor. One could argue that it more stressful for African-Americans who live in the District than it is for whites. I mean you could say that the whites living in the district tend to be more well-off and live their by choice. I wonder how is Hispanics would rate in that study, say around Columbia Heights, etc. I’m rambling on and on, that’ just my two cents.

  9. Preach, brother, preach!

    We have to find ways to do better by ourselves.

  10. probably a mix of both plus a dose of culture. most of us grew up on these high fat diets. the foods that make us think of home, or family and holidays are the ones that can kill us. a lot of us never saw our parents working out, heading to the gym. but at some point you have to do what’s best for you. you take care of what you want to take care of. now that we know better, we have to do better.

  11. I can dig it — in the ‘hood’ you have access to 3 things, a church, the liquor store and a fast food joint..a mess! I have to travel across 3 towns to get to a damn whole foods..

  12. ahhhh I have so much to say!!!! Location yes.. I think it plays a part.. but also EDUCATION plays a bigger part!! a lot of people assume eating healthy is “more expensive” when it ends up being CHEAPER than what you are already spending!!! you don’t have to eat organic to be “healthier” it could be simple changes as steaming fish vs. frying it.. saute ya veggies vs. cooking them in all that damn butter.. LOL SMALL CHANGES..

    I see an even bigger issues with kids.. everybody so stuck on this damn no child left behind, our children hardly get a gym class.. WTF I remember we had gym EVERYDAY not just on an A or B day and depending on the week that is either 2 or 3 times MAX your child is getting any physical education in school!!!!

    it’s all good that they try to blame it on hereditary eating.. whatever.. my grandparents, my mother and elders all ate the same damn thing growing up.. ground provisions, pig, goat, lamb, etc.. and NO AILMENTS.. no diseases nothing.. well until they got to 80 something and then lost their memory but that’s another story LOL

    either way.. like sixty said.. EXERCISE IS FREE.. I costs NOTHING to walk to the store vs drive.. WTF.. people too damn lazy.. so they need to make some choices.. otherwise it will only get worse!

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