Obesity and Afro-American Families - Essay Prowess

Obesity and Afro-American Families


Kindly ADD to CART and Purchase an Editable Word Document at $5.99 ONLY

Obesity and Afro-American Families

Obesity is perceived to be among the most serious problems on a global scale. According to the census of the United States and by the Health Report of the United States which was published in the year 2013, the Afro-American community has the highest number of obese people. It has been also established that Afro-American community that lives in poverty has a very high obesity ratio. Obese individuals are at an elevated risk of developing serious health life threatening problems. Afro-American population is, usually, more concerned about different problems of life, other than being obese or over-weight due to lack of knowledge regarding it. They need proper education about this chronic condition which is often taken lightly. In Afro-American community, 1 out of every ten individuals is said to be over-weight or obese, and the number is continuously rising. There are various reasons that contribute to the occurrence of obesity, but the ones that are most found during researches include lack of physical activities and eating of unhealthy food. However, there are numerous programs of controlling obesity, which are found out of reach of this population.


Obesity is depicted as a condition of having too much fats in the body. Sometimes obesity is considered to be similar with heavy weight, which is not the case (Brume, 2010). An individual can be overweight due to having extra muscles, bone and water present which is not the case in obesity. Obesity is deemed to be present when a person accumulates too much body fat that starts having a negative impact on their health and life. If body weight of a person is 20% higher than what it should be, the person is considered as an obese.

According to United States Health 2013 report on health status of the nation, it has been found that 37.9% of Afro-American men above 20 years of age are Obese, whereas 57.6% of women over the age of 20 are obese (Harris, 2011). Obesity is found more in the women of Afro-American community. Obesity is described as a long-term condition characterized by an excess amount of fat is present in the human body. Fats are required in the body in order to perform biological functions such as storage of energy, absorption of shocks, heat insulation among others. However, excess fats have negative effects on the human body such as blocking of blood vessels which results to high blood pressure (Brume, 2010). Best way to establish if a person is obese or not is through the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is determined by dividing a person’s height (meters) by a person’s weight (kg) that defines if the weight of the body is relative to the height or not. When an individual`s BMI ranges between 25 to 29.9, he or she is considered overweight, but if the BMI is above 30, the individual is described as obese.

BMI charts are clinically and internationally used to assess obesity and have turned out to be successful in determining the obesity for both children and adults(Harris, 2011). This paper pays high attention to the widely increasing obesity cases in the Afro-American community, which have become a threat. Obesity is not just having extra fats in the body, but with time it increases the risks for development of different diseases. The paper also contains effects of obesity and how it is affecting Afro-American families, the diseases that affect obese individuals and how they can be reduced by following different procedures, the measures that have already been taken in order to control obesity and the additional interventions that can be employed in order to lower or eliminate cases of obesity within low-income families (Glance, 2010). The paper will also include methods that can be adopted in order to motivate Afro-American families to have a better and healthier lifestyle which will result in reduced cases of obesity.

Afro-Americans and Obesity

According to the census of the United States, it was found that an enormous number of individuals live in abstract poverty or have low-income. Mostly the families in Afro-American community are low-income earners (Toledo-Corral et al., 2013). Families with low incomes, usually, have limited money to spend for food and have minimal opportunities of having healthy physical activities compared with people having handsome income. It is important to look into issues which are related to these low-income families in order to find out their concerns, lifestyle, behaviors and priorities.

Information about prevention of obesity may not catch their eyes as their priorities can be different, and public health messages may not appear to be of importance to them. Issues that are linked with their daily survival are more important than not being obese, which is justifiable. Having more attention towards the community will make policy makers develop efficient policies in order to transmit the message for having a healthier lifestyle among these populations. Nevertheless, this process may be slow and steady, but if done with dedication will result in minimizing obesity cases from these populations in a significant amount. It is also important to involve the community in making plans for reducing obesity as according to researches it has been proved that plans work better when they are generated with the patient itself.

It can be easily observed that the priorities of low-income families differ from others. The definition of being healthy may also differ as people living with low-income do not promote or identify healthy nutrition and physical activities as part of living a healthy life. It has been also found that some people living in such population associate health with their weight, which means as long as the child is not very lean or bulky he or she is considered healthy (Toledo-Corral et al., 2013). Finance is not always the issue as everyone contemplates the importance of eating healthy and fresh meals for a healthy life, but they might have tight schedules that hinder them from preparing healthy meals, they might have very limited access to markets or may not have discussed what is better for health and but fail to maintain the diets that they take.

Afro-American Culture

The culture that Afro-American residents have developed as a whole has also contributed to the increasing of obesity cases. Cultures are not something that can be declared important since most of them differ from one another. Because overweight has become more common, there are different changes in lifestyles of families too (Treadwell et al., 2010). Fast foods which are rich in fats are available at low prices, energy-dense foods and sugary beverages are more easily available, portion sizes have increased, marketing of unhealthy food was increased in the recent decades, and the amount of physical activities in schools has also reduced. It is necessary for health care providers to have both cultural and general information regarding them in order to provide culturally competent care.

Confusion in Understanding Obesity

It is important to educate these populations regarding the word obesity as it is common to see people merging the concepts of over-weight with obesity. There are more barriers that may cause people in missing the message conveyed. It is possible that some people know about obesity, but not the factors that cause them. Some might know about the cause and BMI tools and precaution to take for the prevention of obesity, but will be having limited financial and food choices (Treadwell et al., 2010). Besides of being an enormous amount of literature present, it is possible that language barrier might be causing the problems. Making Afro-American community understand the difference can have a significant impact regarding how information about good health can be communicated to them.

What Obesity becomes with time?

Obesity is not just one problem but will lead towards more diseases as time elapses. It is important to educate the targeted population regarding different health conditions obesity can cause. Individuals with obesity are at higher risks of a number of life-threatening diseases which may include, blood pressure, diabetes, orthopedic problems, high cholesterol, sleeping disorders, eating disorder, heart diseases, liver problems, different skin conditions (Brume, 2010).There are not just diseases associated with obesity, but a number of psychological disorders too. According most research studies, it has been attested that, people who over-weight tend to have more social problems than people with normal health. Chances of getting teased and bullied are higher to those who are over-weight, which results in the development of low-self esteem and other psychological problems.

Why Afro-American Families Obesity?

Obesity in Afro-Americanfamilies can be contributed by a number of things. For example, Afro-American families, usually, live in areas where the law and order is maintained in order to curb crimes, and this may restrict outings. Consecutively, the community does not have enough recreational spaces to encourage healthy physical activities. Limited or low physical activity is one of the most well known reasons for obesity.Families living with financial problems or low incomes are generally found not consulting doctors and health management professional for problems and according to the United States census, it has been already known that a huge part of Afro-American population is living in poverty due to low family incomes (Glance, 2010).

The best and most authentic way to find out if one is suffering from obesity or can have obesity is to have him, or her checked by a doctor. It can be also seen that the Afro-American families have no scheduled medical checkups, which is resulting in the development of different diseases including obesity without any treatment (Glance, 2010). This is one of the primary reasons by which obesity has taken over a huge population in Afro-American community. It is necessary to encourage Afro-American families to pay a visit to doctors or arrange seminars and workshops related to obesity in which they can have a consultation done for free. Health care providers, community representatives and politicians should formulate a convenient way through which this vulnerable population can have a better and healthier lifestyle.

Afro-American families, usually, have limited finance to invest on food. Constant intake of both vegetables and fruits is important for having a healthy diet schedule (Harris, 2011).Genetics can also be a reason for a child to have obesity. If a family has a tendency of becoming over-weight, it is important to take extra care of their eating habits as children of such families are more vulnerable to obesity.Afro-American community has to understand the effects of obesity and take necessary steps to increase the sale and availability of nutritious meals. Actions should be taken for increasing physical activities in school and building of recreational spaces in areas. This process can take time but will prove fruitful in the long run.

How to Control Obesity in Afro-American Community

Scientists are attempting to generate a fast acting and improved medication treatment. Currently, the best way to have control on obesity is commitment of having healthy food and regular physical activities (Glance, 2010). People are often found with a misunderstanding that boycotting eating food at all or decreasing the amount of food they eat will help in eliminating obesity that is not the case. The key of having control on obesity is a slow process and can be achieved by having a safe diet program which should include all the required vitamins, minerals and protein.

It is important to have physical activities. Most of the doctors recommend walking and jogging in the initial stage and later change the course to more intense exercises and medications. Usually, the medication is kept out, and the treatment is more focused in providing healthy food and the necessary amount of physical activity (Brume, 2010). It is necessary to seek nutritional advice from a health professional before involving in any sort of dieting or weight loss program as a doctor can assess with general health and medical conditions that can have an impact by the sudden change of routine. Obesity is a chronic condition and is oftenly viewed as a temporary condition. It is true that it can be treated within some months, but it is important to know that controlling it can be considered as a life-long effort.

Media have worked a lot for spreading awareness regarding obesity in Afro-American families. This practice has proven to be successful in some scenarios but needs more attention of policy makers and educators in order to get its maximum output (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, Lamb &Flegal, 2010). Health message does not appear to resonate with Afro-American families as they should. Consistency in providing necessary information has proved to be helpful and should be conducted for the promotion of a healthy lifestyle among these communities. The process is long term and requires much determination in order to make it successful, but if done with sincerity and dedication, it will result in producing fruitful results and will result in a decrease in obesity ratio found in Afro-American community.

According to surveys, the community understands the necessity of healthful eating and physical activity but also say that the environmental barriers make it impossible for them to adopt healthy behaviours (Brume, 2010). Government is required to step into form recreational activity spaces for them and make their areas a safe place to live for most physical activities. More approaches like expansion of already available resources such as reformation of school nutrition policies of areas populated with Afro-Americans, organizing workshops to sensitize people concerning the merits of living healthy lifestyles and making affordable healthy foods available. Suggestions keeping in mind the limited resources of families should be formed before interventions for reducing obesity. Organizations working for eliminating obesity within this community observed that individuals define obesity on appearance instead of accepted scientific weight classification.

This indicates that these communities have very little knowledge regarding weight categories. Proper literature regarding symptoms of obesity should be considered before creating messages for this community (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, Lamb &Flegal, 2010). Policies of health care are proven to work best when created by keeping in mind attitude, lifestyles, beliefs and worldview of the population.TheAfro American community also raises concerns over little support and limited access to nutritious and fresh food. Involving political figures and leaders can effectively help in approaching this community that is most vulnerable to obesity. With a strong, easy and concise message, it is necessary to have a better communication medium. It is also noted that people within the communities often complain about the inability of interpreting the message. Communication barriers are present everywhere, and these communities are no exception to them. Face to face engaging programs should be introduced with qualified speakers for better results to be realized.


It is, therefore that the problem of obesity needs to be addressed in the Afro-American community (Harris, 2011). It is also attested that most of Afro-American residents have limited access to finance, have to work hard regularly for survival and have safety issues which rarely allow them to be custodians of their health through concentrating on obesity and other diseases. Culture is something which cannot be learned in a day or two, but, is a long process and is modified by different cultural encounters.

New policies and programs should be developed and implemented in order to prevent obesity in this community that can be done by making them understand the need for healthy nutrition and physical activities. Taking care of obesity can be a long process, but with time the community will develop a healthy behaviour which will have positive results (Brume, 2010). Going through their beliefs and perceptions, it is easier to develop messages and programs which can be effective for Afro-American families. Community leaders and government can combine hands to help these vulnerable populations in having a healthier lifestyles.



Glance, F. (2010). Overweight and Obesity Among African-American Youths.

Harris, K. (2011). The disparities of obesity and African American women.

Ogden, C., Carroll, M., Curtin, L., Lamb, M., &Flegal, K. (2010). Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007-2008. Jama, 303(3), 242–249.

Purnell, L. (2011). The Purnell Model for Cultural Competence. Interventions In Mental Health–Substance Use, 29–50.

Toledo-Corral, C., Myers, S., Li, Y., Hodis, H., Goran, M., &Weigensberg, M. (2013). Blunted nocturnal cortisol rise is associated with higher carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) in overweight African-American and Latino youth. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(9), 1658–1667.

Treadwell, H., Holden, K., Hubbard, R., Harper, F., Wright, F., &Ferrer, M. et al. (2010).Addressing obesity and diabetes among African American men: examination of a community-based model of prevention. Journal Of The National Medical Association, 102(9), 794.