by Cesca Janece Waterfield
First, the good news: Studies show that African Americans generally are less likely to suffer from eating disorders or guilt about overeating, and more often accept larger body sizes.
But an ounce of caution: Such acceptance may lead to greater rates of obesity and the health complications it causes. Obesity among all races has brought the nation what many medical experts consider a health epidemic. Recent statistics show that nearly 30 percent of men and 51 percent of African American women are considered obese, while about 60 percent of African American men and 78 percent of African American women are overweight. The problems caused by unhealthy weight are destructive:
African Americans have higher rates of high blood pressure and hypertension than other races. Obesity and a diet high in sodium increase the risk for high blood pressure. Without medical intervention, hypertension can lead to heart disease, strokes and kidney failure. To prevent hypertension, reduce salt and shed some pounds.
To prevent or treat obesity, the best plan is to eat a low fat diet and get regular exercise. Good eating habits combined with regular physical activity will help with weight loss and reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Shedding just five to ten percent of your weight may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, which remains the leading killer of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.