Huffpost Black Voices

Obesity Less Of A Stigma For Black Women Than White: REPORT

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Whether rooted in the old "big boned" theory or a reluctance to work out for beauty sake, researchers say that black women's perception of obesity differs from that of white women.

Tiffany L. Cox, and her team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, ND, and Obesity and Quality of Life Consulting in Durham, NC analyzed data between 2000 and 2010 and found that most obese women are dissatisfied with their quality of life when compared to women of "normal" weight, but black women report a higher quality of life than white women of the same weight. (Quality of life measures included physical function, self-esteem, sexual life, public distress and work.) Self-esteem also ranked particularly high among black women.

The study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, also found that black women appear to be more concerned about the physical limitations resulting from obesity, than by the potential mental and emotional consequences of being overweight or obese.

With nearly 80 percent of black women over the age of 20 weighing in over their recommended BMI, Cox fears that the idea of experiencing a high quality of life despite having a high BMI may dampen motivation for attempting weight loss, according to

Cox believes that further research is needed to understand the relationship between weight and quality of life in black women, while previous studies have cited social norms and greater acceptance of larger body sizes as the culprits.

Quick Poll

Are black women misguided in their perception of obesity?

Yes, and social "norms" are to blame.

No. Quality of life is a good indicator of overall well-being.

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