CARBOHYDRATES , SALT, and the 825 lb OBESITY GORILLA

In the US the difference between the Prevalence of Obesity (POB)[1], in Black men and Black women (just taking the statistics at face value) is a full 7.6 percentage points (pps). In Whites the men are ahead by 3.6 pps, while in Hispanics the women are ahead by some 1.6 pps.  There is absolutely no good news here for the African American Community.  The POB for Blacks (M & F) outstrip Whites by 12 pps and Hispanics by 7 pps.  A cultural distinction is that some Black women tend toward the Mende ideal of feminine beauty, while some White males tend toward the benevolent Marlon Brando (Godfather) extreme.

Obesity Prevalence by Race

Adverse Impact of Obesity

  • Increased Healthcare costs
  • Increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, pulmonary embolism[2]
  • Lower quality of life (insomnia, chronic fatigue)

CHANGING HABITS

To combat obesity, and its associated chronic diseases, the Expert Report[3] advises,

  • fewer foods high in saturated fat,
  • less sugar,
  • less salt,
  • more fresh fruit and vegetables,
  • one hour of moderate-intensity activity each day.

Recommended  Diet

  • 55 – 75 % carbohydrates
  • Less than 10% sugar
  • 10 – 15% protein
  • 400 g of fruit and veggies
  • between 10 – 30 % of fat (saturated fat less than 10% of this)

Sowo-wui (Ndoli Jowei) : "The Sande woman is not a child!!"

The many reasons for avoidable obesity lie in a mix of poverty, lack of education regarding cause and effect, and the higher cost and lack of availability of healthy food groups. One of the most difficult problems however in combating the obesity fight is the mindset of the individual.  The cultural norms regarding food groups – for example diets high in carbohydrates and salt, set early patterns for increased obesity in later years.  In some cultures a more rotund figure is seen as a mark of prosperity, and good living. The onus is on society to improve the communication of the dangers of an above average sedentary lifestyle, and the myriad disadvantages posed to the individual, especially the children.

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