Fitness instructor, Michelle Gibson

There was an interesting article the other day explaining why so many black women are overweight or just plain fat: they want to be. It’s a cultural thing. White girls want to be skinny. Many black women never want to go below 200 pounds, partly because their husbands and boy friends won’t like it. Or so claims Alice Randall as she states candidly, “My goal is to be the last fat black woman in my family.”

She is hoping for a revolution against this desirable large-bodied stereotype, because one in four middle-aged black women has diabetes, which with obesity are causing more cancer deaths in America than smoking. And blacks have 51 percent higher obesity rates than whites do.

A few days later, the Times quoted a Washington Post study that concluded heavier black women have much higher self-esteem than average-sized white women. Fitness instructor, Michelle Gibson, who teaches 10 aerobics classes a week, says “I’m a full-figured woman who would run circles around the average person, and I know it.”

The Times also printed eight short opinions about this whole issue of overweight black women. Here are some excerpts:

“We are all dealt various hands in life through our genes. Some may be more fit than others, and some may have an inherently better self-image. I would suggest it’s how we play the hand we’re dealt that’s important.”

“While there is a greater acceptance of a curvaceous body in the black community, that holds true for other cultures as well — Latino, Armenian, Italian and Greek, to name a few.”

Josephine Baker

“To say that “black women are fat” because they “choose to be,” as Alice Randall says in her Op-Ed, could not be further from the truth…I agree with Randall that Josephine Baker “embodied a curvier form of an ideal black woman.” Similar to Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, Josephine Baker is considered “thick.” But there’s a difference between thick and fat.”

“According to Alice Randall, not dieting is a bad idea. But here’s what current data show:
· Pretty much everyone who loses weight gains it back within a few years. Some regain more.
· Yo-yo dieting is linked to poor health and shortened life.
· Exercise is good for health, not for weight loss. (Fat people who exercise regularly are healthier than thin people who don’t.)
· Nutrition is good for health.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,