I’ve had a longstanding professional interest in cultural perspectives on obesity – particularly among African American women. In fact, it was a central focus of my doctoral studies. I conducted my research between 2001 and 2005, but I continue to be intrigued by the social and cultural meanings ascribed to body size and shape. These meanings vary by race and ethnicity, social class, religion, country of birth, whether you live in the North, South or on the West coast of the U.S., and a host of other factors. Scholars have analyzed obesity and body size among women from the standpoints of feminism, capitalism, psychology, philosophy, Foucauldian power relations, sociology, and anthropology. Representations and explorations of the large Black female body are also found in poetry, literature, and the visual arts.
During my graduate studies, I concentrated on applying theoretical perspectives from the humanities and social sciences to my thinking about how we might develop public health strategies to reduce the prevalence of obesity among African American women. From the perspective of public health, obesity is a risk factor associated with the development of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis, to name a few. I loved the depth and the breadth of my studies and the opportunity to explore the complexities of body size and weight in more than medical terms.
For over two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has supported a broad range of public health initiatives to promote healthy eating, increase physical activity, and support healthy weights. Yet a recent report indicates that even though increases in obesity prevalence have slowed or even stopped for some groups, obesity prevalence remains high (Ogden, C.L., Carroll, M.D., Kit, B.K., Flegal, K.M. JAMA, 2/26/2014, Volume 311, Number 8, p: 806-814). In this study of adults 20 years and older, authors defined obesity as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30. They further divided obesity into grades – grade 1 (BMI 30-34), grade 2 (BMI 35-39) and grade 3 (BMI >40).
Authors found an age adjusted prevalence of overweight and obesity (BMI >25) for non-Hispanic Black adults aged 20 years and older of 76.2% in 2011-2012. Looking more closely at the data by sex, 69.2% of non-Hispanic black men were overweight or obese and 82.0% of non-Hispanic black women were overweight or obese. For obesity grade 3, 12.1% of non-Hispanic blacks aged 20 years and older were in this category compared to 5.6% of non-Hispanic whites, 0.9% of non-Hispanic Asians, and 5.8% of Hispanic persons in this age range. The age adjusted prevalence of obesity grade 3 among non-Hispanic black women was 16.4% – more than double the prevalence for their non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic female counterparts combined.
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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