Weight Management and African Americans

1. Our people have always been big. We are big boned.

Rationale: Because we have always been big, the standards do not pertain to us.

Facts: In the 1960s, 50% of African American women were overweight or obese compared to almost 70% today. In addition, African American women were more active in the 1960s.

2. I like my curves – I don’t want to lose them.

Rationale: Many women reject the European beauty ideal and celebrate beauty in heavier, more curvaceous bodies.

Facts: Body size is a health issue. Carrying extra weight on your body places extra burden on your major organs, in particular your heart, and blood vessels – which in turn increases your blood pressure.

3. I am tired of hearing that all African American women are overweight.

Rationale: This is how we are.

Facts: Although in the past most of the research and guidelines related to weight was based on Caucasians, current knowledge addresses many racial and ethnic groups. Focus on your health numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar) and on your ability to be active.

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