Could Traditional Black Family Ideals Be Promoting Obesity?

Weight has pretty much always been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I was always the chubby kid and even throughout my teenage years I was always the big guy. Fortunately enough for me, I was never teased because of my weight so I didn’t develop any long-term insecurities or struggles with self-image or self-esteem (thank God).

However, as I ventured into college I had similar weight struggles as I did in my adolescent years. I was notoriously known around my campus as “Big Sexy” and loved and praised for my stocky posture and solid frame.

It wasn’t until after college that I really began to understand that my weight was the result of an unhealthy lifestyle and sought to make changes. I decided to attempt to change, not because I was unhappy with myself, but because I knew I couldn’t continue to live the same unhealthy life in my adult years starting a career and understanding that life is only what you make it.

Through this journey of discovering healthier ways of living that I began to understand how our behaviors and relationship with food really affect us. I also began to discover how as black people we unconsciously promote and condition ourselves, families, and kids to not only engage in an unhealthy lifestyle but promote obesity without even knowing it.

Obesity is one of America’s biggest problems. Not surprisingly, African Americans are the most obese group in the United States. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans were