Do Black Celebs Promoting Weight Loss Encourage Us?
(BlackDoctor.org) — Over the holiday season and into the New Year, it’s not abnormal to see commercials for weight loss programs. Almost everyone I know (myself included) is trying to drop those pesky extra pounds. But what did stand out to me was how many Black celebs were in these commercials.
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, who has been promoting Weight Watchers since last spring, has lost a whopping 80 pounds. Her newest commercial has her old larger self singing to her new smaller self. But other R&B divas, namely Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson, have joined in the weight loss game, promoting Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem, respectively.
On one hand this is a good thing. Not just for their pockets, but for the everyday Black woman.
Perhaps Black women can identify with celebs who are not scary skinny and look more like them, and who can therefore encourage us lose weight just like them. Which is something we desperately need to do. According to the U.S. Office of Minority Health, in 2009 Blacks were 1.5 times more likely to be overweight or obese than whites. African-American women are 60 percent more likely to be obese than White women and about four out of five African-American females are now either overweight or obese.
But, on the other hand, I do have a few reservations about whether these ads will be the catalyst for better health among black women. First, with any celebrity, regardless of race, boasting that these meal plans have helped them lose weight always garners somewhat of a side-eye reaction.