Filed Under:  Health & Wellness

Being overweight not so much a problem, say Black women

27th December 2011   ·   0 Comments

(Healthy Living News) — While obese women are less satisfied with the weight-related quality of their lives than other women, Black women claim to have a higher quality of life than white women of the same weight, says a new study. In addition, the study shows that Black women are more concerned about the physical limitations than the psychological concerns of being overweight or obese.

The study, by researchers at the University of Alabama was just published in Applied Research in Quality of Life.

Studies show that being obese not only increases the risk of disease, disability and premature death, it also impacts quality of life. In the U.S., approximately 80 percent of Black women over the age of 20 are overweight or obese. That is, they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or greater than 25. BMI is an average of weight and height. A person with a BMI greater than 25 is overweight. A BMI greater than 30 means they are obese.

The University of Alabama researchers examined the link between BMI and weight-related quality of life in Black and white obese women using data collected between 2000 and 2010. The women answered a quality of life questionnaire covering five areas: Physical function, self-esteem, sexual life, public distress and work.

The study revealed that as their body mass index’s rose, the women’s quality of life measurements fell. However, there were notable differences in weight-related quality of life between Black and white women. With similar BMIs, Black women reported higher quality of life measurements than the white women, with self-esteem being particularly high.

The study authors think that the relationship between weight and quality of life in Black women may be related to body image and social norms. Because Black women are more accepting of larger body sizes, they reported that their quality of life was not as adversely affected by being overweight.

Study researcher Dr. Tiffany Cox explained that there is a serious downside of not being concerned about being overweight.

“While the highest quality of life is desirable as an indicator of overall well-being, Black women’s perception of experiencing a high quality of life despite having a high BMI may also dampen motivation for attempting weight loss,” she said.

Dr. Cox thinks additional research is needed to further understand the relationship between weight and quality of life in Black women and how those attitudes might adversely affect physical health.

This article was originally published in the December 26, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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