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More Than Weight: Obesity & Black Health

Updated: Feb 7

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

  • Coming Soon- Black Health's Body, Mind, Spirit Obesity Resource Page

Embrace You Weight & Wellness Resources

Join us for our 2024 Embrace You Weight and Wellness Workshop series partnered with Black Physicians Healthcare Network. We are empowering Black Women to reach their healthy lifestyle goals. 🆓 for Montgomery County residents. Link to Register

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.

Already taken the quiz? Start your transformative body-mind-spirit journey by reading, Embrace You: Your Guide to Transforming Weight Loss Misconceptions Into Lifelong Wellness.

Related articles by/ featuring Dr. Sylvia (aka Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie, MD, DABOM)


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.

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