Our resident nutrition expert and lifestyle coach Angela Tella shares her thoughts on a new US study comparing attitudes and beliefs about weight, health and lifestyle in black and white women.

A new study from the United States has found that black women are heavier but happier with their bodies than white women. In the most comprehensive study till date, 66 per cent of overweight or obese black women had high self-esteem compared to 41 per cent of average-sized or thin white women. Looking good was also more important to black women with 28 per cent saying that being physically attractive is ‘very important,’ compared to 11 per cent of white women. 

The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation survey interviewed more than 800 women across America and found that 90% of black women ranked healthy living higher than religion, career and even marriage. Despite this and higher levels of self-esteem in black women, they were more likely to “slip into obesity and suffer higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other weight-related health problems” than their white counterparts. 


In my book Healthy, West African & Wise™ – The Complete Guide to a Healthy West African Diet and Lifestyle, I mention that cultural loyalty and a strong ethnic identity are possible reasons for the higher self-esteem despite being heavier. This is because black women tend to experience less pressure to be slim than their white counterparts. In essence, if being large is acceptable all around you and is looked upon in a somewhat positive light, you pretty much accept that being large is not a problem. 

Do you agree that women from black communities are more comfortable with being a larger size and so are able to exude confidence regardless of their size? 

Or is it because looking good matters to them and and this boosts confidence?

What about the health implications of carrying more weight? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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