Apparently Black Women Are Big Boned

For all of you who’ve lost the weight, but the BMI scale doesn’t seem to agree…it’s not you:

The body mass index (BMI) and waistline measurement overestimate obesity in African-Americans, according to a new study. The results, which were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., suggest that conventional methods for estimating body fat may need to become race-specific.

“Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans of the same age, gender, waist circumference, weight and height may have lower total and abdominal fat mass,” said principal investigator and study leader Samuel Dagogo-Jack, MD, professor of medicine and chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis. “These findings argue for a review of the existing cutoffs for healthy BMI and waist circumference among African-Americans.”</span

I've written about this before in Big Butts = Good Health I mentioned how a study shows black women can have a BMI of 27 and still be healthy. This new study largely confirms that the current BMI scale doesn’t do a good job of measuring black women’s body mass.

I completely understand what this article is saying. At 140lbs I’m borderline overweight according to the BMI scale and at 165 I’m listed as obese. In reality I’m rocking a six pack at 140lbs and I’m merely overweight at 165.  The previous scale where you weren’t considered overweight until you BMI hit 27 was a bit more accurate.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can be 250lbs and be healthy. It does mean if you’ve lost a considerable amount of weight and look lean and helathy, but the BMI scale is suggesting you’re not, you’re probably in good shape. I’m mean at 140lbs I’m rocking a size 6, but if I listen to the BMI I’d still be worried about being overweight.

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Brown Sugar

Lives in music, sits down to read like she’s at the Feast of Heaven, enters every room like a queen or a spy, reads faces the way a gypsy reads palms, knows sex the way a nomad knows the desert’s shifting sands, needs laughter to breathe, eats in celebration of taste, works joyously, loves uproariously, smiles insightfully, dreams delightfully.

5 thoughts on “Apparently Black Women Are Big Boned”

  1. We have heavier bone density, which explains why African Americans (or Africans in the diaspora) have less problems with osteoporosis. We probably have more compact, dense muscles too, since bone and muscle mass are interconnected.

    These people using the BMI of a nearly hollow-boned white woman wouldn’t really give a densely boned black woman an accurate picture of health. I’ve read books by Colvert Baily that noted some of the differences in our BMI, bone density, and higher fat percentage. We can be heavier, and it wouldn’t be a problem.

    As to how much heavier, I have no idea.

  2. Yess!! Does this mean I can quit now!

    I knew our muscle mass was heavier, but did you also know that BW have an advantage over other races – our bodies lose more fat and weight when we exercise!

    Where some women can run til they faint and not lose a pound, AA women’s bodies are more positively responsive to exercise and weight training, resulting in better faster results!

    So one more reason to get out there and move sisters!!

  3. More attention needs to be drawn to the fact that BMI scales do not take into account racial/ethnic body differences. However, black women still are statistically more overweight/obese than other groups and that needs to be addressed. Black women are also disproportionately living with chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, so the improperly calibrated BMI scale does not allow us to slack off with our health at all. Let’s work on being fit and fine! Like Tracy said, “…get out there and move sisters!!”

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