Sunday, July 13, 2008
No Excuses: Addressing the Barriers of Health in the Black Community
I was on the phone with of one my girlfriends and she randomly mentions that she could not understand why black women that are severely overweight don't do whatever it takes and just lose the weight, "If you have legs, you can walk!"
She believes that there really is No Excuse for women to be overweight. At first I kind of agreed with her but after really thinking about the issue I realized that we are speaking from a privileged point of view. We are not privileged in the sense that we grew up with silver spoons in our mouth (trust me that is not the case) but privileged in the sense that we are both college educated, have good jobs (well she does, i'm in grad school), access to a gym, access to fresh fruit and veggies, and we don't have to really take care of anyone but our selves.
So after thinking about this for a while I wondered if I would be working out 5-6 times a week and eating healthy if:
*I lived in a housing project or bad neighborhood with no safe place to run or walk
*I was living off assistance from the government and had to worry about feeding two children in addition to myself
*I had to work two jobs to feed my family (how would i find time to work out?)
These obstacles would be in addition to the obstacles that most black women already face; the hair issue, not knowing what to do in the gym, lack of resources about black women and health, recognizing that being FIT is a lifelong commitment.
It would be incredibly difficult to endure those challenges and maintain the workout regimen that I have now. I realized how blessed that I am to have a gym in my building, a beautiful lake path to run on, money to buy nutritious food, etc. It saddens me that it took me so long to take advantage of my blessings. There are women out there that would probably love the opportunities that I wasted for so long.
I recognize now that its not that easy for some Black women to lose weight. I'm sure there are ton of more obstacles that women face that I did not think of. I plan to create a post in the future that includes suggestions on overcoming these obstacles.
Please let me know your thoughts? What do you think Black women can do to overcome these obstacles?
Are you taking advantage of all of your opportunties?