Being Overweight Not Such a Stigma for African American Women

Medical Xpress, December 7, 2011

While all obese women are less satisfied with the weight-related quality of their lives than women of ‘normal’ weight, black women report a higher quality of life than white women of the same weight. In addition, black women appear to be more concerned about the physical limitations resulting from their obesity, than by the potential psychological consequences of being overweight or obese. These findings by Dr. Tiffany L. Cox, and her team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, ND, and Obesity and Quality of Life Consulting in Durham, NC, are published online in Springer’s journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.

It is well accepted that obesity does not only increase the risk of subsequentdisease, disability and premature death, it also impacts the quality of life of obese individuals. In the United States, approximately 80 percent of black women over the age of 20 are overweight or obese (BMI* equal to or greater than 25).

Cox and colleagues examined the link between BMI and weight-related quality of life in a high-risk sample of obese women (172 black and 171 white) using data collected between 2000 and 2010. An obesity-specific quality of life questionnaire was used to examine five areas: physical function, self-esteem, sexual life, public distress and work.

The researchers found that for all women, as BMI rose, quality of life fell. However, there were notable differences in weight-related quality of life between black and white women. At similar BMIs, black women consistently scored higher on quality of life measures than white women, with self-esteem being particularly higher among black women.

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  • DC Resident

    As I’ve said before, anyone who has spent time on DC public transportation has seen, um, “ample” evidence of this. Enormous black women think nothing of stuffing themselves into spandex dresses 5 sizes too small. There’s no convincing them they aren’t hot stuff, and they don’t lack for black male admirers, either.

  • Awakened

    I’d like to add my 2 cents if I could. Fat Black women are everywhere. If you go to the CDC website, I think that you’ll find that the average weight of a 40 year old Black woman in this country is something approximating 200 pounds. This is unbelievable, but true. Society, has gotten more and more obese over the course of the last 30 years or so, but Black people in particular, and most particularly – Black women. They are by far the most obese group in the world – not just this country – but the world. I’ve seen studies whose conclusions were that Blacks had more testosterone than Whites, and even Black women had more testosterone than White women. From what I’ve seen of Black women, they like being B – I – G. Big in terms of size or weight. They, in a very real sense, like to “Throw their weight around”. And they do – literally. They use their size in a physical sense to intimidate White women who are smaller and more feminine. I’ve seen Black women actually fight like men, that is, with a closed fist. You’ve seen it too; everyone has seen it. Being obese may not give one stamina and endurance, but a person – especially a woman – can sure use it to intimidate other women, after all, all a severely obese person has to do in a physical fight is just grab the other person and fall on them. It sounds humorous, but it’s true. Also when a severely obese person falls, their fat actually cushions the fall.

    One thing is absolutely certain, and that is that large objects, including people, are intimidating. These Black women LIKE being overweight. It makes them feel powerful. That’s the bottom line. Crazy as it might sound to people with a higher IQ and a much higher sense of esthetics. Combine a race of people with a lower IQ, a higher testosterone level, put them in a society like ours right now whose standards they no longer have to follow, and this is the result.

  • Anonymous

    It is an interesting question perhaps (?) in terms of evolutionary psychology as to whether Africans are inherently as a group less

    able to assimilate what passes for diet in contemporary America? I confess to a lack of keen awareness as to what early explorers found as elements of traditional diet in the varied parts of central Africa. We have been quite dominant in numbers and had in place elements of our traditional diet when they were brought over here. Too, lust of the gullet is very much related ( in back brain function, etc. ) to lust of the loins. Simply stated, lust seems to be a consuming problem with the vast majority of Blacks in the U.S.–not that majority coeds on the contemporary campuses are running far behind in all this debasement, in terms of lust of the loins.

  • ice

    “80 percent of black women over age 20 are overweight or obese.”

    I’ve noticed that almost all the videos of screeching black women going ballistic….and there have neen a lot of them…… are grossly overweight.

    80% is more than I would have guessed though, but I don’t doubt it one bit.

  • Anglo-American666

    Many black females are molested as children and raped as teenagers and young adults. This is a consequential correlation with having proximity to black males. Many black females gain weight to avert sexual assaults and to feel safe.

    I disagree with those who believe black females, (or other groups that largely buy into victim identity), feel good about themselves.

  • Anonymous

    Has anybody here seen a picture of the present Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin? So much for “healthy living by example”.

  • Sheldrake VonSheldrake

    Black women have the most positive body image of all women, and Asian women have the lowest.

    This is interesting when you consider that blacks as a whole score the lowest on I.Q. tests, while Asians score the highest.

    There could be a correlation.

    Intelligent people tend to realize how little they actually know, while dumb people think they know everything.

    From the film, Stairway to Heaven (1946): “Stupidity has saved many a man from going mad.”

  • Kenelm Digby

    Good God!

    It’s as much as 80% – and they moan incessantly that they can’t get husbands.

    I remember a few months ago some male black race hustler was practically ordering White men to marry black women.

  • Fritz

    I would like to see some stats on how many of these obese Black women are getting food stamps. It would seem the best thing to do in the interest of their health, would be to cut off the excess food stamps. Maybe one of these college educated brainiacs could come up with a formula for allocating just enough food stamps, redeemable for only certain healthy foods in amounts adequate to maintain a healthy body weight. For God’s sake, we owe these people affordable housing, college diplomas, jobs they’re not qualified for. Don’t we owe it to them to make sure they don’t eat too much?

  • karsten

    Once again, I fail to understand why this site even cares about African-American Women in the first place. Are they any more attractive when they’re thinner? No. They’re ugly at any size. Really, who cares what they think – about themselves or about anything else?

    What AR should care about, it seems to me, is how white women feel about themselves. Isn’t that what this site is supposed to be — a positive space for whites?

    Whining about “How awful it is that black women feel good about themselves” seems pointless and, frankly, petty and resentful. It’s like begrudging the town idiot who thinks he’s a genius. I doubt the town idiot has things going well for him. Let him have his delusions, given that he’s probably living in a cardboard box.

    Instead of thinking, “How awful it is that black women feel good about themselves,” a pro-White site should be concerned about “How awful it is that white women feel so bad about themselves,” thanks to a media complex that fuels anorexia and self-loathing in order to get them to spend their money on cosmetics, plastic surgery, and other vanities, and in the process, infects their minds with Sex-and-the-City-type anti-White, anti-hetero, commercial liberalism.

  • Anonymous

    Are black women in Africa overweight?

  • Pokesaladannie

    A combination of factors may be at work here. One is the influence of the fast food industry on low income people. Another is the prevalence of steatopygia (Greek:lit.”fat rump”) among many African women. Charles Darwin on Hottentot (Khoikhoi) women,” the posterior of the body projects in a wonderful manner”. Darwin believed this evolution of enlarged buttocks more to due with sexual selection than Nature’s way of providing fat storage through a severe famine. Added to this, is the cultural acceptability and desirability of this trait among Black males. Google “Sara Baartman,The Hottentot Venus”, the exhibition that exploited the South African woman in early 19th century London and Paris and compare her to the current popular Black model , Bria Myles .

  • HH

    Living in the Northeast, USA one need only look around to see this to be true, if possibly understated! It seems virtually EVERY black female I see much beyond puberty is fat – and in many, many cases, enormously so!

  • Anonymous

    #5/ #7

    I find it plausible that a significant motive for Black women getting too heavy is to protect against rape from Black males,

    but I would be doubly interested in any informed study or academic conjecture about this, if you have something.

    Body image–the literature re Blacks is abundant in its references to how absurdly positive the self image can be in flagrant contrast to the common external social perception. A 1985 book “Black Intelligence (IQ) in White Society” makes references to this. As I recall ( accurately?), the hypothesis is that stronger Black back-brain impulses and weaker Black cortical control are basic to this frequently absurd and enduring personal optimism about what they can do, have done, are

    thought to be able to do, etc.

  • Anonymous

    #12

    Your comment is very interesting and provides useful information.

    At the risk of possibly making a too tenuous connection (is there

    one, here?): The high crime incidence among Blacks is starkly

    evident. Among whites in prison, it is a long-standing observation of prison staff superintending visitation times for

    prisoners with their “significant others” that quite often a physically attractive white prisoner will have a wife/ or wife surrogate/ who is markedly overweight. Cons often proclaim:

    “The homecoming queens and cheerleaders get us into prison; the fat mama’s get us out and take care of us” Relevant to the incidence of overweight women among Blacks??

  • Distant Observer

    To #11: Yes, black women in Africa are overweight. Of course getting up at 5 AM to fetch water from a distant well and working in the fields all day while the husbands do nothing might keep them thin. But those are the poor ones in the villages. Urban, better-off African women are big mamas, just as in the U.S. And like in the U.S., they enjoy dressing in loud, tight-fitting clothes, taking particular pride in their broad rear ends.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous wrote:

    Are black women in Africa overweight?

    Good point. In fact, most of them are not. They are about the same size, if not smaller than many American White women.

  • WyattWhite

    Colored women don’t cook like they used to. They now eat prepared food at Popeye’s, McDonald’s, Church’s, KFC, and New York Fried Chicken. I’ve seen them in DC using EBT cards to buy Twinkies and frozen pizza, and they always use the code 1234. They were thinner and less prone to diabetes when they ate watermelon, home-cooked collard greens and black-eyed peas. Do I care? Not really.

  • MAJ

    #10

    I fully agree. I do not care one iota about black women or their body image.

    Most whites find them unbearably repulsive to look at.

    The reason they are obese is low IQ and lack of impulse control. It is similar to an animal eating anything available.

    Blacks in America, despite millions of dollars thrown at them by liberal health care advocates, obviously are unable to understand even the basics. You would think that family members with hypertension, stroke, diabetes, etc…would prompt a change in eating habits.

    Only lazy morons would attempt to squeeze into ill-fitting clothes rather than lose weight, be healthy, and wear proper clothing.

  • Mike

    Here’s something else to ponder about black women – the Center for Disease Control states that 39.2% of them have genital herpes:http://articles.cnn.com/2010-03-10/health/genital.herpes_1_herpes-infections-herpes-simplex-infection-rate?_s=PM:HEALTH

    That is almost 40% – what the hell is going on in the so-called black community

  • Captian Obvious

    What we should be lamenting is the sad state of white women in this country. Many of them are mentally and physically getting sicker.

    In many cases, they hate themselves. So they eat to ‘feel better’ and then wonder why white men don’t want much to do with them. Despite what liberal press says, being overweight and out of shape says quite a bit about the self esteem of the overweight individual. Mainly, it says they don’t value themselves enough to be healthy, and treat themselves right, and that they are rather unhappy people.

    No wonder we as a race are dying. Even while more white men are awakening, looking for partners, they are discovering few if any real prospects.

    Sad but true.

  • Sardonicus

    In many countries in West Africa, thin women are not particularly prized by the local men. Fat is a sign of affluence and thin women are considered puny and unhealthy. At my university, I worked with a woman from Ghana and she explained the preference for heavy women to me. There may also be a genetic tendency for certain West African women to be over weight. In any case, the “big butt” so highly prized by many African and American black men is part of this cultural/genetic pattern.

  • Anonymous

    re 19

    I care about them because I care about myself and my kids and my

    wife. It is to a significant extent ( under present and foreseeable circumstances ) true that Black failures and problems

    indirectly slop over into our existence. There is a higher current standard than MERELY just an “us/them” dichotomy based

    on evolved distinctions in empathy, etc. It is coldly rational for us to do what we can to assist to some extent to ameliorate their problems. They have their evolved “us/them” dichotomy that

    is stonger and potentially more brutal than ours. As the abler Blacks and abler Whites of a prison population realize, this

    has to be moderated or we get into a “lose/lose” tragedy. We are a long way from the kind of mutually productive (elective) separatism that makes the prison metaphor irrelevant.

  • Anonymous

    “One thing is absolutely certain, and that is that large objects, including people, are intimidating. These Black women LIKE being overweight. It makes them feel powerful. That’s the bottom line”

    I’ve noticed that as a 4th and 5th grade teacher. Even when as in my classes the kids are all the same ethnicity,(black) there are enormous differences in sizes of 10 year olds. In a classroom there are the younger children born in November or December and the older ones born January through April.

    At ages 5 to 13 for girls and 5 to 16 for boys, 8 months can make a big difference in size and maturity. Of course there are children whose parents are smaller or larger and the children inherit those sizes. All black children are vicious bullies, but the big fat ones have the advantage and just lord it over the normal size children. There is no way a normal 60 pound 10 year old can fight off a 120 pound 10 year old.

    Blacks are inherent bullies and love to be big and strong so they can beat and harass smaller people.

  • Rose

    I notice in the original article the comparison is made to “White” women.

    Why are these black studies always compared with White people? What about Asians or Hispanics?

  • Jim

    I agree with karsten (#10) 100%.

    We wallow so much in our narcissism, going on about how much better we are over people who obviously possess lower intelligence and skills than we do. To me that’s absolutely pathetic! Why do we keep wasting our time? Why can’t we accept that it only drags us down to their level?

    We should be honest with our feelings yes, but we also need to be less concerned with ego, status and the like. It diminishes us and our glorious nature. We have a beautiful spirit as a people (just think of Bach, DaVinci, etc.), but we can’t help acting utterly petty over whatever people do?

    See that’s what I hate about all white racial awareness movements. ALL OF THEM. They are just a cover for useless egomania and narcissistic reality adjustment. We can do better than this!