Weight Loss in today’s African American Community
Role of Weight Loss
Complications associated with excess weight include chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. Losing just 5 percent of your current weight may help prevent such medical problems. Weight loss is a widespread recommendation for African-Americans because they represent a large segment of overweight and obese people in the United States. The larger number of overweight and obese African-American children makes them more likely also to develop chronic medical problems associated with excess weight, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and sleep apnea. Losing weight can improve their health outlook and self-esteem.
Factors Influencing Weight Loss
Cultural factors influence the African-American community and the ability of members to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. In addition to considering larger bodies acceptable, African-Americans also tend to experience fewer negative feelings such as guilt when they eat too much. Consequently, for African-Americans, successful weight loss may require more than just following a nutritious diet and exercising more often, such as continually emphasizing the health benefits of achieving a normal weight.
Adult Weight Considerations
About 66 percent of the total U.S. population was either overweight or obese as of 2010, the CDC said. Roughly 76 percent of non-Hispanic African-American adults were overweight or obese, however. African-American women generally have an even greater need to lose weight than African-American men because their combined rate of overweight and obesity is about 80 percent, the highest of any group in the United States.
Child Weight Considerations
African-American children are less likely to be obese than adult African-Americans, but more likely than children in general to weigh too much. As of 2008, approximately 36 percent of African-Americans ages 2 to 19 were overweight or obese, as compared to about 76 percent of African-American adults and 32 percent of all children ages 2 to 19. Similar to adult African-American women, African-American girls ages 12 to 19 had the highest rate of childhood obesity at about 29 percent as of 2008, according to Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.
Do you think there are enough gyms, fitness centers, and recreational locations in African American neighborhoods?