A local newspaper reports the club is a huge hit with men who prefer big women. Phases like "big and beautiful," "big boned," "fat momma" and "queen sized" are often attributed to African American women who are overweight. But glorifying big women doesn't reveal the serious medical problem that lurks beneath -- obesity, which contributes to higher rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and cancer.
According to the American Heart Association and the National Medical Association, more than six out of every 10 African American women are overweight, and almost 4 out of every 10 are extremely overweight or obese. Why are women of color so disproportionately impacted? The main culprits are high fat diets and lack of exercise. While family history does contribute to obesity, this is no excuse for a woman to throw up her hands in frustration and say, "It's in the genes; there's nothing I can do about it." On the contrary, there is much that individuals can do to attain and keep a healthy body weight. African American women must begin to prioritize their lives and commit to an appropriate exercise program, as well as plan and prepare well-balanced meals.
Despite the hype about dramatic weight loss achieved through crash diets and prescription drugs, the safest and most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is to incorporate a basic two-step regimen: eat less, exercise more. It's an unglamorous and convention formula, but it works.
Overcoming obesity requires a change of lifestyle -- shedding destructive, bad habits and replacing them with new habits of healthy eating and regular exercise. Some women may need counseling, a support group, or behavior therapy. Physicians and nutritionists are an important resource. Here are some suggestions to get you started: Eat smaller portions, don't skip meals, avoid fried foods, grilled or baked foods have less saturated fat. Eat early in the evening, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, walk, walk, walk, don't buy snacks and sodas. Drink water, at least 8 glasses a day. Enlist a friend to exercise with you and help you stay committed.
The Big and Beautiful myth is a sad excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle. In many cases, it is literally a matter of life and death.
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