New Year, New Obesity Rates

Black women are collectively in bad shape, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Eighty percent — yep, 80% — are overweight or obese. That means sisters have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 25. Black men, sadly, are not far behind with 70% being overweight or obese.

Nearly a quarter of Black children, 6-11, are overweight — 24.5 percent for girls and 23.3 percent for boys fall in this category. Another 25 percent of African American children are obese, according to Health and Human Services data.

In this New Year, let us collectively resolve to lose the weight. Obesity can lead to a host of problems — from Type 2 diabetes to increased chance of stroke or heart attack to greatly increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia as we age.

Walk, dance, run, cycle, swim or cross train. If you don’t know how to, learn to cook as the “soul food” that one gets at fast food restaurants is the nutritional equivalent of heroin and can kill you just as effectively. If you do know how to cook, try dishes that are low in fat and calories but still are familiar to you.

For example, try this lower fat Mac and Cheese recipe from Heart Healthy Home Cooking African American Style):

  • 2 cups macaroni
  • 2 cups onions chopped
  • 2 cups evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1¼ cups low-fat cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • nonstick cooking spray, as needed
  1. Cook macaroni according to directions—but do not add salt to the cooking water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 o F.
  4. Lightly spray saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add onions to saucepan and saute for about 3 minutes.
  5. In another bowl, combine macaroni, onions, and the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Transfer mixture into casserole dish.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
  8. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings Serving size: ½ cup Calories 200 Total Fat 4 g Saturated Fat 2 g Cholesterol 34 mg Sodium 120 mg Total Fiber 1 g Protein 11 g Carbohydrates 29 g Potassium 119 mg

Download the entire cookbook here for ideas on reducing the fat and calories in cornbread, fish, chicken and more Play around with seasonings besides salt to get the dishes to your particular liking.

Seriously, have a happy and healthful New Year.

Author: Retha Hill

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