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Obesity among Black women outrageously high

NNPA NEWSWIRE — African American women are reportedly more susceptible to being overweight or obese than any other race. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health has reported that roughly four out of five African American women are either overweight or suffering from obesity. This statistic has a lot to do with the long-standing history of the African American culture, socioeconomic status, stress, and dietary habits that have been passed down from one generation to another.

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Today, there is still a disproportionate ratio between the height of most African American women and their weight which is how body mass index is measured. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

By Darcie Ortique, OW Contributor

Betty Busby, 55, has struggled with her weight since high school. “It’s in my genes to be chubby, and I have always thanked God that I have a man that loves my shape,” she said. “He still thinks I’m sexy with my small waistline, big hips and thighs. I will be forever grateful for that.”

However, Busby’s significant other has been upset—and sometimes frustrated—with her recent drop in weight and size of her hips. “I’m attempting to improve my health by dieting and exercising,” Busby explained. She is under a diet regimen and is taking medication for high cholesterol and hypertension after feeling the pain of extra lower-body weight. “I sometimes get annoyed because he is constantly [overseeing] my meals and complains about the difference in hip size.”

Living with constant harassment

In addition to health issues, Busby said her shape has caused problems in shopping for clothing that smaller women can typically buy off-the-rack. Men are often verbally assertive with unsolicited comments and reactions to well-endowed women.

“As a young adult, I had to learn to live with the harassment,” she said. “Butt slaps were really offensive. I just hated when a guy would not back down with coming up to me in a public place. I asked one guy why he was so persistent, and he responded with: ‘I’m afraid if I go home without your number, I’ll never meet someone like you again.’”

Busby also said the work world can be a tricky environment, particularly if you encounter a female superior with different [smaller] physical attributes than you. “Males will move boxes for you, open doors and pay special attention to you,” said Busby who is employed by the Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services.

African American women are reportedly more susceptible to being overweight or obese than any other race. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health has reported that roughly four out of five African American women are either overweight or suffering from obesity. This statistic has a lot to do with the long-standing history of the African American culture, socioeconomic status, stress, and dietary habits that have been passed down from one generation to another.

Cultural standards and barriers

Some will argue that there are a number of cultural barriers (fashionability, family responsibilities, stressful lifestyle) that may also challenge or prevent many African American women from exercising regularly.

United States Surgeon General Regina Benjamin stated in an interview for the Chicago Tribune, “Oftentimes you get women saying, ‘I can’t exercise today because of my hair or get my air wet.’” For some, there’s a trade-off between preserving heat-required hairstyles and physical fitness and research suggests that misplaced vanity is at the root of the problem.

To the contrary, African American men and the media have also supported plus-size and curvy women, which have made many overweight African American women feel comfortable in their skin.

The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll to get the perspective directly from the source. According to The Washington Post, the poll revealed that “although Black women are [generally] heavier than their White counterparts, they report having appreciably higher levels of self-esteem. That figure was 66 percent among Black women considered by government standards overweight or obese.”

Research like this also suggests that, as a culture, the majority of African American women see no harm in being too vain to take accountability for their health. The 1992 hit, ‘Baby Got Back,’ by Sir Mix-a-Lot, highlighted the fact that many Black men embrace full-figured black women, despite contrary beliefs:

“ I want em’ real thick and juicy so find that juicy double Mix-a-Lot’s in trouble,” The old-school rapper went on to say, “So Cosmo says you’re fat, Well I ain’t down with that ‘Cause your waist is small and your curves are kickin.’”

‘Baby Got Back’

Songs like this and others inspired Black women to love the skin they’re in and to be proud of their “thickness” because men appreciate rolls, curves and big bottoms.

For years, many R&B, Hip Hop & Rap musicians have type-casted the women they have in their music videos. And more often than not, the video vixens usually have a small waist, thick hips, thighs and a big butt. Black women who aren’t “thick” or “curvy” are going to great measures to achieve this look.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that ‘cosmetic augmentation among black people increased 56 percent between 2005 and 2013 and is still rising.”

Richard White, M.D. physician, specializing in internal medicine and research at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., has studied the correlation between health literacy and the effect is has on chronic health disease and obesity in underserved communities. “It’s really going to require the African-American community to come together as a unit to really say, ‘you know what? this is our health as a community, this is something that we’re going to take the initiative and interest to improve ourselves and not necessarily rely on outside or external forces to try and make it happen for us,” White said. He encourages his African American patients to take a personal inventory of their lives and take accountability for the foods they are consuming and the decisions they make regarding physical activity.

The lure of fatty food

“I think that we can create in our community a mentality that this is something that we don’t have to accept,” he added. “We have the collective energy as a community and as a culture to push back and to really make changes.”

In most African American gatherings and celebrations, food is the highlight of the event and often sought out as the most important. The problem is that calorie-dense foods that are rich in flavor—but lack vital nutrients—are usually presented as a way of fellowship with little to no portion control.

“The thing that I really feel passionate about is empowering, particularly our African-American community to really understand the influences that have been propagated from across the culture that have led to poor health outcomes,” White said. “There’s a social injustice that’s being propagated towards us as a community.”

Researchers speculate whether this may be the first generation to not outlive their parents, considering the alarming numbers of obese children, who later become obese adults. There is a psychological approach to preventing obesity and it is the responsibility of the parent(s) to have candid discussions about what children should put into their bodies and what foods are important to consume in moderation.

Deciding to eat healthy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office conducted a study in 2015 that revealed African American women were 60 percent more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic White women. Today, there is still a disproportionate ratio between the height of most African American women and their weight which is how body mass index is measured.

“If you look at a lot of those commercials for fast food industries, you will see they’re specifically targeting African American communities and it’s sad, but it’s something that we as a culture, have sort of allowed to happen,” White explained. “These industries are multi-billion-dollar industries for a reason because we continue to give them our dollars.”

Most fast food commercials feature African American women promoting greasy, fattening foods that are high in cholesterol and lead to diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.

Percell Keeling is a distance runner and owner of Simply Wholesome, a full-service health food store and restaurant in Los Angeles. Keeling works alongside health professionals to help provide insight for the community on eating healthy and helping to increase life expectancy.

“We have nutritionists on-site… A lot of individuals will come in and ask about certain problems they might have,” Keeling said. “What’s interesting to me is that a lot of individuals will come in after they’ve exhausted everything from the doctor.”

Keeling and his team sell fresh foods and natural, holistic products. Consumers have a variety of organic foods to choose from at Simply Wholesome. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or a meat-eater, Simply Wholesome provides a tasty, Caribbean twist to healthy eating.

Keeling recalls recognizing the need for exposure and resources for natural foods when he first opened his business. “It costs money to eat well, unfortunately,” he said. “The system is kind of set up like that now… A lot of times most people are a product of their environment, even if it is on a subconscious basis.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women had the highest percentage of fast food consumption at 42.9 percent versus 36.3 percent of White women and 35.8 percent of Latino females. In addition to proper nutrition, exercise is a key component to combat obesity and other cardiovascular complications. The U.S. National Library of Medicine reported only 36 percent of adult African American women achieve the national physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity.

Regular exercise key to weight loss

Jonathan Denzel Sergent is a certified elite personal trainer, nutrition specialist, licensed massage therapist and a self-defense coach in Los Angeles. He works with a variety of female body shapes. “My target audience is women of all shapes, sizes and workout history (beginner, intermediate, advanced),” Sergent said.

With six years of experience as a all-in-one fitness expert, Sergent opened his own business, Denzell’s Gazelle

s’s — an initiative designed to empower women to live healthy lifestyles.

“My aim is to help women identify their goals, design a fitness program that fits their needs, guide them through every exercise, every 45- 60- or 80-minute workout and have them feeling refreshed after a free, 30-minute massage,” Sergent said.

Unlike many fitness experts, Sergent takes a realistic approach to coaching women and helping them to reach their individual goals. He offers free consultations to those seeking a change in lifestyle and recommends seeking professional expertise on how to manage weight loss. “You need an outside look into your dietary needs,” Sergent said.

“Foods that work for some people may not work for you.” Despite the cultural standards and familiarity of “plus size” African American women—and the accompanying labels such as “plump,” “thick,” “heavyset,” “healthy,” etc.—there are dire health consequences for this segment of the population if their weight continues to increase.

These include the onset of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bone damage, and a declining self-esteem in a world that can unfairly place a premium on a slim and svelte physical appearance.

Contact Johnathan Denzel Sergent at denzelsgazells.com

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IN MEMORIAM International Soccer Icon Pelé Dies at 82

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves. 

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Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Pelé, the international star who was instrumental in three World Cup championships with Brazil across three decades and who energized U.S. soccer with the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, has died.

The 82-year-old legend had been hospitalized since November, and his doctors reported that Pelé’s cancer had advanced, requiring care related to renal and cardiac dysfunction.

He has been receiving regular treatment since doctors removed a tumor from his colon in 2021.

“Father. My strength is yours,” the international star’s son, Edinho, posted on social media.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

He led the Brazilian national teams to World Cup glory in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

In 1956, he joined the Santos Football Club, where he played inside left forward, winning nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup.

Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves.

“After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government to ward off large offers from European clubs and ensure that he would remain in Brazil,” Britannica researchers wrote.

On Nov. 19, 1969, in his 909th first-class match, he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé made his international debut in 1957 at age 16 and played his first game in the World Cup finals in Sweden the following year.

The Brazilian manager was initially hesitant to play his young star. But, according to Britannica, when Pelé finally reached the field, he had an immediate impact, rattling the post with one shot and collecting an assist.

He had a hat trick in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship game, where Brazil defeated Sweden 5–2. At the 1962 World Cup finals, Pelé tore a thigh muscle in the second match and had to sit out the remainder of the tournament.

Nonetheless, Brazil went on to claim its second World Cup title.

Researchers said rough play and injuries turned the 1966 World Cup into a disaster for Brazil and Pelé, as the team went out in the first round, and he contemplated retiring from World Cup play.

Returning in 1970 for one more World Cup tournament, he teamed with young stars Jairzinho and Rivelino to claim Brazil’s third title and permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Pelé finished his World Cup career, scoring 12 goals in 14 games.

Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a worldwide star.

His team Santos toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. For example, in 1967, he and his team traveled to Nigeria, where a 48-hour cease-fire in that nation’s civil war was called to allow all to watch the great player.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but, in 1975, agreed to a three-year $7 million contract with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and to promote the game in the United States. He retired after leading the Cosmos to the league championship in 1977.

Pelé was the recipient of the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1980 he was named Athlete of the Century by the French sports publication L’Equipe, and he received the same honor in 1999 from the International Olympic Committee. In 2014 the Pelé Museum opened in Santos, Brazil.

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COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips

THE AFRO — Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours. 
The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Megan Sayles | AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that “hard work pays off.”  But, sometimes, working too hard can do more harm than good.

“Burnout” is a form of work-related stress in which an individual experiences physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by their job’s demands. It can also make workers feel distanced from their jobs and engender negative feelings about them, according to the World Health Organization.

Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours.

This makes it even more important for people to know the signs of burnout and the strategies to combat it.

Natasha Charles is the founder and CEO of Intuitive Coaching with Natasha Charles, a comprehensive life coaching and consulting firm. She created the business after gaining 20 years in senior administration roles.

Charles was motivated to open the firm in 2018 out of a desire to create a business focused on inspiring continuous improvement. There, she works with individuals and executives to create lives that they love and offers them personalized solutions to address critical work and business challenges.

“It’s really about thinking about you, the person, and all that you are,” Charles said. “People tend to be very focused on one aspect of their life, and a lot of times, it’s about their career, so it’s really about making space for all of your goals and all of your dreams.”

When someone experiences burnout, Charles said they could be actively doing their job while simultaneously worrying about their other responsibilities and priorities, whether personal or work-related. She also stressed that burnout can be experienced no matter what profession you are in and what you are being paid.

Aside from the physical and mental impacts of stress, burnout can impact finances if it causes an employee to take extended periods of time off or miss work, according to Charles. It can also reduce their productivity.

In the beginning of 2022, the term “quiet quitting” emerged, and for some, it’s being used as a method to avoid burnout. It involves individuals meeting the minimum requirements of their job descriptions, investing no extra time or effort than what is mandatory.

For Charles, quiet quitting is a signal that a person is not fulfilled by their job and may need to think about changing workplaces or careers.

“I get that people are not always able to up and quit, and it can take time to find what that next role is,” Charles said. “I would come from a space of encouraging the person to start thinking about what that is. What is it that you ultimately desire to be doing in your life and seeing your work?”

One of the most important steps in reducing and preventing burnout is educating yourself about the syndrome, so you can be aware of the warning signs, according to Charles. She also said it was crucial for employers to talk to their employees about it.

Awareness can help prevent the shame and guilt that comes with burnout and allow people to give themselves grace.

After a person has weighed whether they are experiencing burnout or not, they should think about how they want to confront it. This could include engaging in self-care, asking for extra support at work or home, and creating stronger boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

When burnout is impacting your performance, it’s time to consider making a career change, Charles said.

To ensure your work life does not invade your personal life, Charles said people need to assess the goals they have for all areas of their life. Once you’ve set goals, it’s easier to devise a plan and set the necessary boundaries to achieve them.

Charles also said it’s important to carve out time for yourself where you’re not constantly checking your phone or email for work reasons.

“There is life beyond your work. There is an entire world out there to be discovered,” Charles said. “There’s a world within us to be discovered as well, and I encourage everyone to invest in discovering those pieces.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting 

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.
The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Canadian rapper Tory Lanez faces more than 20 years in prison and deportation after a jury in Los Angeles found him guilty in the 2020 shooting of hip hop star Megan Thee Stallion.

Lane, 30, was found guilty of three felony counts, including assault with an unregistered semiautomatic weapon, carrying a loaded gun, and discharging a firearm in a vehicle with gross negligence.

The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.

The 27-year-old Megan, whose real name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez offered her hush money and didn’t care about her injuries and pain suffered because he shot her.

Lanez, who declined to testify, claimed there was another shooter, Pete’s friend who was also arguing with the hit maker as they drove home from a party.

“[Lanez] told me to dance,” Pete told the jury, adding that he also cursed at her following the shooting.

Sentencing for Lanez is scheduled for Jan. 27.

“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said, referring to Pete.

“You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face, and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation.”

The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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