Despite the well-publicized health and emotional consequences of obesity, a successful weight-loss industry, and a high rate of voluntary dieting, the prevalence of obesity in African American women continued to increase. For the most part, African American women are aware of the serious health risks related to obesity. Honest attempts to diet and exercise properly usually resulted in gaining of the weight loss and additional pounds in the process. A limited number of studies suggest that African American women maybe less motivated to control their weight because of culturally determined, permissive attitudes toward obesity (Kumanyika & Guilford-Davis, 1993). In fact a select few of obese African American women may feel more attractive about their bodies than women of other races may.
The African American culture appears to be more accepting of obesity than other cultures in society. On the other hand, African American women experience great social pressure in respect to body size and receive painful accounts of ridicule (Averett & Sanders, 1996). Obese African American women have also been linked to the lower socioeconomic status in regards having the means to purchase nutritional foods for a proper diet.
The stigma attached to obesity causes African American women to feel shame and guilt of self-blame (Crocker, Cornwell, & Major, 1993). Emotionally, African American women tend to blame themselves for their obesity and will become withdrawn. Therefore, African American women may begin to experience insecurities and low self-esteem.
There are several serious health risks that are associated with obesity. Obese African American women experience a high rate of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and an array of other long-term critical health problems. Over years of time obesity can be fatal. Gradual weight loss can help to reverse risk factors and add years to live a healthier life.
Social Context... [continues]
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