6. Word Association! We are fat, aggressive, loud, booty shakers, and ghetto.
My initial research for this post angered me so much to the point I was not going to write it, because I almost fell into the hype myself. I googled tons of queries on this topic and found so much negativity; everything from “we like being fat,” “we hate exercise,”to we are just plain lazy. Let me say this, the point of this post is not to make it seem like we all have #SerenaWilliams goals or we are going beastmode daily. Yes, some of us hate exercise. Yes, some of us don’t want to “sweat our hair out.” Yes, some of us are lazy and the thought of lifting a weight makes you cringe; but this is the generalization for an entire specific gender group, and that’s where the problem lies. Out of 16 terms given to participants, when the words African-American, Health & Fitness are heard, the top word association choices picked by the majority were:
- Lack Of Knowledge About Health/Fitness/Nutrition
- Hair Issues
- Lack Of Support From Family/Peers
- Busy Lives
7. We Are Naturally “Thick & Curvy.” No Man, Especially Black Men, wants Bones.
We do tend to be curvier than our counterparts and with IG images in your face daily, this is becoming the norm. I will admit I know tons of black men who not necessarily want an overweight woman, but they don’t want a woman that’s too thin either. Sadly, I’ve also seen the flip side of that where a woman’s partners may not want her to “lose too much” or tells her to stop her fitness journey. I have seen relationships tested and even ending because she decided to take control of her health. Partners might have good intentions, however this is sad considering 82% of black women are overweight or obese. Big ups to my husband because I don’t have to deal with those type of relationship issues. I think he’s is an anomaly, hence, he’s my husband. When people ask why did I marry him, he’s always been my biggest supporter. You control your destiny, your health, and your body. Get comfortable in your own skin. Now this isn’t Lemonade, don’t leave your man and blame me, but if this sounds familiar….re-evaluate for your health.
8. Back in the Day when I was young I’m not a kid anymore…………….
This is the same as reason #5: Proper nutrition wasn’t a priority in our families.
I asked participants what is in their fridge now vs. growing up?
|Margarine||Coconut /Olive Oil/Butter|
|Cold Cuts||Fresh /Organic Meat|
|Cow’s Milk||Almond/Cashew Milk|
|Cookies/Chips||Dark Chocolate/Fruit/Natural Snacks|
|Canned Fruit/Vegetables||Fresh Fruit/Vegetables|
|Boxed Mashed Potatoes/Pasta Meals/ White Rice||Fresh Sweet/White Potatoes/Brown Rice|
9. Limited Access to Healthier Options.
This reinforces the disparities shown in black communities which are rampant food deserts. The USDA defines Food deserts as: “Parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.” 23.5 million people live in food deserts and half of them are also low-income. Because of limited options, many people living in food deserts get meals from fast-food restaurants. Behind NOLA, Chicago ranks #2 among food deserts. In a typical Chicago Black neighborhood, the nearest grocery store is twice as distant as the nearest fast food restaurant.
Chicagoans and residents of surrounding areas living in food deserts is estimated at 600,000.
1/3 of these are children
I asked those surveyed what restaurants and stores were in your community growing up vs. now?
|Convienent Stores/ “Bodegas”/Limited Number of Grocery Stores||Whole Foods/Food 4 Less/Aldi’s/ Trader Joes|
|Fast Food Chains/”Greasy Spoons”||Fast Food Chains/Healthier Restaurants|
10. Our Ideals have changed.
When asked has ideals about nutrition and fitness changed from youth to adulthood the consensus, with varying reasons, was YES. A friend of mine works out daily, no matter what. She goes in her basement and gets it in. She has a husband, 4 kids, and a demanding job. At one point she would get up at 4a.m.driving to the North side of Chicago to exercise with a trainer. Those who know me, know I’m a morning person, but I hate driving more than 20 minutes anywhere, lol. When I ask her how she used to get up and drive that far, why does she continue to push, she simply replies, “For longevity, to be an example to my kids, and be proactive on two of generations of genetic disorders.” Just because disparities, food deserts, and lack of knowledge is the foundation for many of us, at the end of the day, the power and choice lies in us to lead healthier lives.
*As of December 24, 2016 that 1 grocery store in my old neighborhood closed.