Love Letter to Black Women about Health and Obesity


Over the past few weeks I’ve come across various statistical reports which say that half of African American women in this country are obese (49.5 percent to be exact), diabetic, or both.
Initially ladies; I discounted this as nothing but inaccurate statistics.  Ballooned up numbers trying to make black women look bad and feel worse.  But then I started paying attention and asking questions like -
-Why when I visit my aunt in the nursing home there are more of you than me?
-When I go to church on Sunday; there are more of you on canes, wheel chairs, and walkers than me?
-Why does my friend who runs a kidney dialysis transportation business tell\ me that there are more of you then me.
Now I’m not here to showboat, to scare you, or to make you feel bad.  I’m writing this because I love you.  I love your strength, your character, your history, the way you can make something out of nothing, the way you multi-task, the way you go to school, work 2 jobs and raise children at the same time.  I love the no-nonsense tenacity you direct towards the men in your lives, I love your smile, the way you look after your parents, and the way you love your significant others.  I love your education, your wit, your loyalty, your heart, and your alternative perspective.  This is coming from me -  your brother, uncle, father, son, best friend and husband.
However I don’t love your diet.  I hate it when I see you pull into the McDonalds drive thru, when I see you at the gas station needing an extra hand because of all the chips and pop your holding.  I hate hearing the stories from personal trainer friends who say you complain about not wanting to work out hard because you don't want to sweat your hair out.  The stories about how many of you are more concerned with not loosing your butt, than trying to loosing your gut.

I swear I don't mean to offend.  In fact I'm not even trying to inspire.  This is an attempt to provoke you to change your life so you can save your life.  Now I can go into allllll kinds of statistics, but I'd rather just “keep it real.”

And that means understanding whatever cancer and diseases that's susceptible to whites is even more susceptible to blacks.  Whatever illness and conditions that kills whites – will kill you a lot faster.  So the bad carbs, high amounts of sugar, and unhealthy fats that comfort you when you're depressed.  That keep you going through long days at work.  The crispy fried chicken wings you live for, the pizza at the kid's birthday parties, the cheesecake you can't turn down, the ice-cream that calls you in the middle of the night, the jelly, toast and bagels that wakes you up, and the fast food you eat because you don't make time to cook is all killing you.

And some of you are smacking ya' lips saying, “Who does he think he is?” or “Just because you got yourself together doesn't make you an expert!”  or “He got some nerve trying to tell me what to do.”  etc....

No I'm not an expert.  I don't have to be to care and “yes” I have nerve..... and a WHOLE lot of audacity.  So I'm challenging you, all of you to throw some of that audacity back at me.  Throw it up in my face.  Let me see you at the gym more than the club (the weight side not just the aerobic classes!)  Let me see you at the farmer's market more than the drive-thru.

And hopefully, God wiling, when we're old – we won't be trading prescription stories and health insurance horror tales.  But we'll be talking about how good are knees and hearts feel, how great it is to be able to travel, work, play with grand kids without the use of a walker, wheel chair, or cane.

Challenge issued ladies.  Do you accept?