According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Vital Health Statistics, 60.1 percent of African-American males are overweight and 78 percent of Black women lead the population in obesity and being moderately overweight. It has been found that there are specific factors that cause these statistics.
There are three factors that tend to stand out when it comes to obesity in African Americans. The first is their culture. Studies have shown that African-Americans tend to have a better acceptance of larger body sizes than other cultures. This can be good and bad. Because of their tolerance for larger body sizes obesity has become the norm leaving African-Americans with more obesity/health related illnesses when compared to other cultures. African-Americans tend to feel less guilty about overeating. They also tend to shy away from dieting.
The second factor is their environment. Not necessarily where they live, but what is available to them in regards to nutrition. There are nutritious foods available, but the cost is overwhelming for many African-American people, especially if they are feeding their entire family. In many African-American neighborhoods there are fast food restaurants on every corner. These fast food restaurants offer fried, fatty foods that are full of sodium and then you have the sugary drinks to wash the food down with.
The third factor, which seems to be repeated from generation to generation, is family and upbringing. Many African-American families do not make nutrition a top priority. One popular tradition is “soul food”, which is fine if done in moderation, but this food has a very high fat content, sugar and sodium content for flavor. Continuous consumption of these foods without exercise causes our system to gain weight continuously.
African-Americans can decrease the obesity trend by significantly decreasing their intake of fast foods and increasing the amount of physical activity. This will not only decrease the effects on obesity, but can also decrease the possibility of becoming a diabetic, which is also prevalent in the African-American communities. Statistics show that compared to the general population, African-Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes, 13.2% of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diagnosed diabetes. African-Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes when compared to the non-Hispanic white population.