More Than Weight: Obesity & Black Health
Updated: Apr 28
My Grandma Sylvia died from complications of obesity. So when I see statistics about Black people & obesity, I don't see numbers.
I see people. I see lives impacted and the potential for lives impaired or lost prematurely.
More importantly, I ask the question, "Why?"
Why does obesity so disproportionately impact black people?
Understanding why is key to creating meaningful solutions that help Black people overcome obesity.
I'm grateful that I'm not alone in seeking solutions for reducing obesity & the impact of obesity on Black people. Several clinicians, researchers, and organizations are committed to helping understand and change the obesity statistics in Black people.
For example, Black Health, a nonprofit based in NYC, is working diligently to provide updated and impactful obesity education to help Black people thrive. Black Health, formerly known as National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc, champions Black health through "advocacy, policy, and action." Black Health is the pioneer in empowering Black leaders to effectively fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Black community. Since its inception to fight HIV/AIDS in 1987, Black Health has expanded to add additional health areas of focus. Obesity is one of the most recent additions.
Since 2021 I've been honored to guide Black Health's obesity education initiative for the past year.
In 2021 we produced two key obesity resources:
Health Action TV| Obesity As A Disease
Black Health Learning Academy: Obesity More than Weight
This year, 2022, Black Health is unveiling a four-part webinar series that will offer an in-depth perspective on obesity & Black people.
I will be moderating each talk and can't wait for the discussions.
Session 1 "Obesity Is A Disease" presented by Black obesity trailblazers Dr. Joynita Nicholson & Dr. Daphne Bryan was held on August 2nd, 2022.
Session 2, "Personalized Obesity Care: Individualized Care for Women" is particularly near and dear to my heart and will take place on August 18th at 1 pm EST. Excited to be teaming up with two intelligent and inspirational professionals, Dr. Carol Penn, DO, MA, ABOM, FACOFP & Dr. Angela Clack, PsyD.
Sessions 3 & 4 are sure to be beneficial as well.
The full schedule of the Black Health Obesity Education Webinars is listed below:
You can register for free on the Black Health website. Link is provided in the resource section.
I'll close by saying: Statistics aren't set in stone. The obesity rates in Black people can improve. It's time we go beyond the numbers, ask why, & create practical, personalized solutions for obesity. To put it plainer, "Don't talk about it, be about it," Kendrick Lamar in "Alright." Or, for my church folks, "Faith without action is dead." (James 2:26). Anyway, you phrase it: action, not just talk, is crucial for meaningful change.
What are your thoughts on why obesity rates are so high in the Black Community?
Black Health Obesity Resources
Webinar Series Replay Links
Session 1 "Obesity Is A Disease" presented by Black obesity trailblazers Dr. Joynita Nicholson & Dr. Daphne Bryan
Session 2 "Obesity & Black Women: Individualized Care Approach" presented by Dr. Angela Clack, Dr. Carol Penn, & Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie.
Session 3 "Obesity & Black Men: Individualized Care Approach" presented by Dr. Sanul Corrielus, Coach Rik Childs, and Coach Brandon Wood.
Session 4 "People Are Not Obese. People Have Obesity with Dr. Tiffani Bell-Washington & Dr. LaTosha Flowers
Coming Soon- Black Health's Body, Mind, Spirit Obesity Resource Page
Embrace You Weight & Wellness Resources
Check out the Embrace You Clarity Quiz if you need clarity on your weight and wellness
journey. It's designed to help you break through the confusion on your weight & wellness journey.
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Related articles by/ featuring Dr. Sylvia (aka Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie, MD, DABOM)
"When Do We Stop Using BMI to Diagnose Obesity?" Medscape.com
"The Weight of Motherhood: Black Maternal Wellness " Embrace You Blog
"Black Maternal Health Week" Embrace You Blog
"Overcoming Obesity Your Own Way" Embrace You Blog
"Obesity & Black Women: What Are We Missing?" Embrace You Blog
"How to Unlearn Weight Bias" Livestrong.com
"The Obesity Disparity & Black Women" Physician Weekly
"Why BMI Is Problematic for the BIPOC Community" Everyday Health
"Where Do We Go From Here: Impact of Racism & Racial Disparities on Obesity Rates in African Americans & Clinical Implications" Obesity Medicine Association Blog
Response to Dr. Sabrina Strings Scientific American Article "The Racist Roots of Obesity" Scientific American
"Clinical Conversations: Obesity In Black Women: What Are We Missing?" Obesity Medicine Association
"Your Weight Look Beyond the Scale" Lunch & Learn Podcast With Dr. Berry
"Does the Number on The Scale Determine Your Worth" S.O.S. Sisterhood of Sweat
The opinions & views expressed in this post are reflective of Embrace You Weight & Wellness & Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie; but not Black Health or any other organization.