One-third of Americans are obese, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and researchers at Boston University (BU) are working to understand why and what can be done. BU has published a four-part series that discusses a special project out of Boston University’s School of Public Health called the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS).

Why is there a special project dedicated to Black Women? Well, because African-American women in the U.S. have the highest rate of obesity in the nation. Since 1995 BWHS has studied the lives and habits of 59,000 Black women in hopes of understanding the disparity and the tools to help Black women as a whole live healthier lives.

“Our study is really trying to make a difference,” says Julie Palmer, who is the senior epidemiologist at Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center and coordinator of BWHS. “It is pure research, but it is research with a heart. We want it to lead to changes in individual behaviors, changes in medical practitioners’ recommendations, and changes at the highest policy levels that will help all of us have better health.”

One of the things the study pays attention is what actions towards better health are actually possible for women. Noting that everyone may not have access to gyms, they’ve looked at the impact of walking briskly and how that can be factored into everyday live.

The studying has also looked at how factors such as food, breastfeeding and education level play into obesity among Black Women.

For more information on the Black Women’s Health Study, click here.

  • http://gravatar.com/shal1987 shal1987

    I’m sorry, I’m so sick of the excuses people have for being obese.
    I mean it’s getting ridiculous at this point. If someone has a genuine desire
    To be healthy they will make a way to do it. As mentioned above black
    Women are the head of households taking care of kids, housework and working.
    Believe it or not, housework can be exercise. Sweeping the floor or vacuuming
    Can be great alternative to working out at a gym. Also for those with children,
    Go outside and play with them . It could be as simple playing tag, just chasing your
    Kids around is burning calories. Having the gym and nutritionist is a luxury for the
    Wealthy but for those who don’t fall into that category IMPROVISE.
    When it comes to diet, start implementing alternatives to things that you would normally cook .
    For example, simple dinner can be subsititued such as ground beef for ground turkey or
    oven fried chicked over stove fried . I mean being healthy is a lifestyle change that doesn’t
    happen over night but if you have access to Face book then you can simply google info
    on having a healthier lifestyle and nutrition. Come on Black women we are so much better than this we need to let go of the excuses and get moving

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    • Pam

      Loving your comment.

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  • Barbara2

    I had an ESSENCE magazine subscription at the time they asked Black women to particcipate in this once in a life time health study mention. I’m still a participate in the study (BWHS).

    Over the years, I dutifully completed the surveys sent to us. I attended events for this study. At the events, I noticed the facilitators always had accents–from the Caribbean or Africa. So, I tried to get information on what Black women were part of the story. No luck. I began to believe that the White woman who started this study convinced a Black woman from Howard University to join her (to legitemize) so she could get government funding and add to her own requirement of faculty padding the University coffers.

    To make a long story short…Black women from other parts of the world have different diets from my Soul Food diet. (I eat Soul Food all the time, and I’m not fat. It’s a matter of portions).

    This BWHS is no different from the so-call study about Black women having 70% Babies out of wedlock. It’s not accurate. As for the out of wedlock babies, there ISN’T any difference in what Black women have been doing throughout our history. The difference is in the “method of reporting” the government now uses. Our greatest out of wedlock babies were during slavery and post slavery, and Jim Crow. Today, the more educated Black women are having “fewer children, while the less educated BW are doing what they have always done.

    Don’t pay serious attention to all these studies coming out. Black women are being talked about and studied to death in reent years. I, for one, am sick and tired of it.

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  • Marles

    Sorry, but last time I checked light jogging up and down a staircase, push ups, squats, crunches, etc. were free. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that. We need to stop with the excuses that healthy living is a privilege. That is absurd. It is much more accurate to say it’s a choice that has to be made a priority. I don’t understand why we refuse to account for a very serious reason why many black women are overweight/obese. Perhaps it’s difficult to admit to ourselves but let’s face it: many of us are just plain lazy and apathetic about our health. Being healthy is a conscious choice we have to make for ourselves. It doesn’t matter how much (or little) money you have, losing weight works the same way for everyone – calories in/calories out. If you’re stressed, you don’t have to eat a family-sized bag of chips when cheap apples are available. You don’t have to turn into that fast food drive-thru either. 

    How many mores times are we going to say we’re too poor, too tired, too stressed, too busy, too pressed for time, too single, too ridden with or by XYZ health/socio-economic issue, or essentially just too black to be healthy before we own up to our lack of food discipline, decide to make conscious health choices for ourselves/our families, and take an honest look at the most basic factor in weight – what we put in our mouths? 

    If maintaining your hairstyle is more important to you than achieving/maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise, what’s stopping you from preparing healthy meals for the week over your weekends off from work? Or if time is such an issue, why can’t that hour you spend watching your can’t-miss reality shows 3-4 nights a week, also be the hour you spend on the floor doing sit ups, jumping jacks, etc. Stop living through convenience and excuse, and start living by consciousness and discipline.

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  • Marles

    Sorry, but last time I checked light jogging up and down a staircase, push ups, squats, crunches, etc. were free. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that. No gym required. We need to stop with this idea that healthy living is a privilege. That is absurd. It is conscious choice that has to be made a priority. It doesn’t matter how much (or little) money you have or how dark (or light) your skin is, losing weight works the same way for everyone – calories in/calories out. If you’re stressed, you don’t have to eat a family-sized bag of chips when cheap apples are available. You don’t have to turn into that fast food drive-thru either. I don’t understand why we refuse to account for a very serious reason why many black women are overweight/obese. Perhaps it’s difficult to admit to ourselves, but let’s face it: many of us are just plain lazy and apathetic about our health. 

    How many mores times are we going to say we’re too poor, too tired, too stressed, too busy, too pressed for time, too single, too ridden with or by XYZ health/socio-economic issue, and essentially just too black to be healthy or lose weight before we own up to our lack of food discipline, decide to make conscious health choices for ourselves/our families, and take an honest look at the most basic factor in weight – what and how much we put in our mouths?  

    If maintaining your hairstyle is more important to you than achieving/maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise, what’s stopping you from at least preparing inexpensive, healthy meals for the week over your weekends off from work? Or if time is such an issue, why can’t that hour you spend watching your can’t-miss reality shows 3-4 nights a week, also be the hour you spend on the floor doing sit ups, jumping jacks, etc? If you frequently watch beauty tutorials on YouTube, why can’t you just as easily subscribe to a fitness guru or two and begin an at-home workout regimen? Stop living through convenience and excuses, black women, and start living by consciousness and discipline. We are so much better than this, and we are just as worthy and capable of being healthy as anyone else. 

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