And there are those who, I believe, have a genuine concern for Sidibe’s health. And for good reason.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese; African Americans were 1.5 times as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic Whites; African American women were 80% more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic White women; African American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than non-Hispanic White girls.
These are very sobering statistics.
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, President of Global Policy Solutions, a policy consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. and Director of Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, wrote an enlightening essay two years ago that should still resonate with black women today.
“African-American women must not be reluctant to discuss the issue of obesity if we are to address the health disparities that make us, and the children for whom we are primary caretakers, live sicker and shorter lives,” Rockymoore wrote.
“While it is okay to uplift personal behaviors like healthy eating and physical activity as a part of the solution to the problem, we must also address the structural factors that undermine our health,” she added. “To do so, we must support each other and work in partnership with schools, faith and community groups, businesses, and government leaders to reshape our communities into places where healthier choices are made easier.”
Rockeymoore’s thoughtful essay is the proper way to address obesity, a serious concern in the black community, not the snide, vile comments about Sidibe’s weight that are posted on social media.
As black Americans, we should be more respectful to each other – and more courteous to black women. And that includes Gabourey Sidibe.
Aren’t we better than that?
What do you think?