Why are so many black females obese?

I put this in IMHO because I’m sure there is no factual answer and there are people who are going to argue with the notion of broadbrushing a group based on sex and color of their skin.

First, I know there are overweight people of all races and sexes. A LOT of them. But…

My wife and I just got back from a trip to Universal Studios in FL and we were both shocked at the number of obese black women and girls we saw there. I realize that there is no way to prove this on a message board but we would say that 75-80% of the black females above the age of 8 or 9 were clearly overweight and a majority were obese. This is purely anecdotal I know but when you spend 6 hours a day standing in line in a mob of people all you can do is look around and observe so I guess all you can go off of is my word here.

There were hardly any overweight black men, though there were a few noteworthy specimens.

Oh, as an aside, why does it seem that most black folks wear socks with flip flops?

(We observed many oddballs that were white and mexican too, but this subset is the one we were amazed by. It was VERY noticable)

A sociologist would answer that your anecdotal sample of obese black women self select for Universal Studios.

I won’t make any tilts at explanation, but clearly African-American women in the United States are at a greater risk of being obese:

Figure 4.

And in Human Development we learned that African American females were less likely to feel the societal pressures of looking thin/like the models on TV as Caucasians females are, and tend to have a healthier sense of self-image and identity their their other female counterparts. So you could have seen more simply because they felt more comfortable going going outside in public and enjoying themselves while other racial groups may not be as likely to be there due to embarrassment or such. But it’s Universal Studios, not a club. But uh… I like the sociology answer better.

Other than that, I think you’re on your own for this Q, buddy.

I noticed this growing up in the south - literally every black female I remember growing up with save 2 was significantly overweight, and my school was probably ~30% black, so it wasn’t a tiny sample group or anything. I noticed it outside of school too, of course. But since I moved out west I haven’t noticed it at all. I have no idea what either observation means.

Holy crap this isn’t going to end well.

I’ll throw out a few facts, to hopefully retard the flames…

There’s a link between poverty and obesity, particularly in women. Probably due to how the cheapest and most available food is the worst (think McDonalds). And even now, minorities including blacks have lower incomes on average.

As long as we’re in imho, I’m going to guess that it’s partially southern style “soul food” cooking and a cultural preference for a larger body type.

A group of sociologists took a trip to Scotland. While in the tour bus, they noticed a field with black sheep.

*One of them said: “Hey, all sheep in Scotland are black”

  • Another said: “All we know is that *some *sheep in Scotland are black”
  • And a third one said: “All we know is that *some *sheep in Scotland are black on one side”

Yes, we shouldn’t overgeneralize, but going to extremes, like the third sociologist above, isn’t very useful in the real world.

African American tend to be poorer and poor people tend to be fatter. Why? Because fatty foods are cheaper. Even look at things like Mayo. I almost never see fat free mayo on sale, but I always see regular mayo on sale. And regular mayo has 100 calories per serving compared with 10 or 15 calories for fat free mayo. Now taste aside, that’s a huge difference.

High fatty foods are cheaper.

Also as one poster noted, there is less obsession by black men to have their ladies thin. Black men don’t mind women with meat on their bones. Thus the black women have less pressure to conform.

I know black women who are overweight that have no trouble meeting men and their white women friends, also overweight are complaining they can’t get a date 'cause they’re fat.

I live in a Spanish neighborhood and it’s almost comical the way I see these young ladies and gentlemen looking sharp, and so pretty. Then they get married, a year later they BOTAH are fat, sloppy, in sweat pants, and pushing a stroller. It’s like OK I’ll dress to the nines and look like a cologne ad but once I’m married “who cares anymore.”

I go to the gym in my neighborhood an 99% of the time you can tell the married Spanish folk from the unmarried ones. The unmarried ones ALWAYS look sharp and fit and dressed well.

So I think culture does play into it.

I agree part of it is cultural. Back when I was more overweight, I received a lot of compliments and attention from black men (I don’t experience it as much since I’ve lost some weight). It seemed to me that within American black culture, being fat is not viewed as a character flaw to the extent that it is among American white people. Why bother struggling with trying to lose weight if people in your community already think you’re pretty and sexy the way you are?

But if threemae’s cite is correct, we’re talking about a 53% obesity rate. Surely there has to be more to it than simply guys not minding? Aren’t there genetic components to weight gain, too?

Probably, but if it was largely genetic, shouldn’t we expect to see a lot of obese Africans and black Europeans? I don’t think there are nearly as many.

(FYI, your medscape link requires registration)

And it ain’t just [del]KFC[/del] McDonald’s. Poverty affects education and health care as well, both of which play into obesity.

(Anecdotally) Sure, genetics play a role, but not to that extent. There’s a reason America is one of the world’s most obese countries, and it’s not because everyone here is that different from their ancestors. It does make for a handy excuse, though.

Put it this way: Would you blame Hollywood thinness on genetics?

Re: socks and sandals

I’m from St. Louis. People around here don’t wear socks and sandals often…usually if someone is, they have a lot of other fashion-related issues going on.

My family vacationed in Florida every few years when I was younger and we always drove. I remember the farther south we got, the more people I’d see wearing socks and sandals. I recall this because even as a kid I thought this was weird and nerdy, and seeing kids doing this and otherwise dressed normal/“cool” it threw me for a loop.

So I don’t think it’s a black folk thing, I think it’s a regional type thing.

Possibly because they have ghetto booty or some sort of badankadunk butt.

Just to back that up / contradict it (depending on source) with some data:
This simplistic chart puts the US at the top of the list, but lacks many countries.

The BBC has a more complete table (scroll down to the bottom) and the US is only at the middle.

The WHO has even more data (go to Graphs -> Indicator -> BMI Obese Adults); according to that, the US is 6th out of dozens of countries.

Is that really true, and if so, to what extent? All too often, I hear people who, presumably, aren’t black say “black men like large women”, as if they somehow speak for all black men.

This comes from living in an integrated suburb in close proximity to a poor black neighborhood in a large Rust Belt city for five years; I really never saw many merely chubby black women. Instead, the clear majority were massively obese; 100+ pounds or more overweight. Do black men – generally speaking – really like women that are that big? There’s a difference between “a little extra meat on the bones” and the extremely large women I saw everywhere in Cleveland.

Quoth Omega Glory:

Actually, an authentic “soul food” diet is pretty healthy, especially compared to the typical American diet. You get lots of green, leafy vegetables; most of your protein comes from fish or legumes; and not much in the way of sweets. “Soul food” does not mean chicken deep-fried in lard every day.

Of course, the authentic soul food diet probably isn’t all that common any more, with the wide prevalence of cheap junk food.

I have to agree with this. I’m going to state right at the gate that I am speaking of my own perception, based on what I see in the black community; my opinion only.
Black women are built different (typically) with a big round booty, big hips, narrower waist and ‘thick’ thighs. Because this body type is desired by black men*, women have much more room to gain weight, because they are considered sexy as long as their ‘gut don’t get as big as their butt’.

Black women eat a lot of fried foods, and lots of foods that are high fat. This is actually spoken of as a desirable in the black community (Girl, you know you got hit with them beans and rice!). And our beans and rice mean lots of gravy! So, I think it is a mix of body type being different, and feeling much more comfortable being overweight, and swine and other high fat foods being a major part of the diet, probably a tradition that goes back to slavery.

*I realize all black men don’t feel that way, but I do know many black men, across all socio-economic backgrounds who certainly do feel this way, and it is absolutely engrained in the black culture, from the music, to the arts, to the literature and poetry to the streets. Not every black man feels that way, but big booties in the black community are prized in the way that blond hair and blue eyes are prized in white western society…not by everyone, but generally.