We love her clothes, her intelligence, her cute kids and that husband of hers with the big ears is pretty awesome too. There has been article after breathless article of swooning Black women openly wishing for their very own Barack.
We also admire her slim, athletic shape. Everyone has heard about the president's workouts (and seen pictures of him going to and from the gym) but the First Lady has stuck to a pretty solid workout routine as well, even with a hectic schedule. She has recounted in several interviews how she would get up an hour before her family to make sure that she had time for herself, including exercise. Also, prior to her husband's presidential campaign - and during - the first lady worked out with her friend every morning at 4:30 a.m.
Too bad the same can't be said for everyone. The statistics on American Black women and obesity are mind-boggling. According to a recent Surgeon General's report, 69% of non-Hispanic black women are overweight or obese compared to 58% of non-Hispanic black men. There are also several underlying factors related to obesity that cross socioeconomic lines like eating out more often and increased television, computer, electronic gaming time. There are also factors that may disproportionately affect Black women in lower-income neighborhoods like a fear of crime which would prevent or limit outdoor exercise.
There are other culturally-specific factors related to Black women that is often under reported. For instance, a recent study by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that Black Americans were less likely to recognize overweight and obesity, study shows. The study found that overweight Black Americans are two to three times more likely than heavy white Americans to say they are of average weight — even after being diagnosed as overweight or obese by their doctors, according to a new study led by researchers. Yet another study conducted with 103 Black women by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center found that 31% of them admitted to exercising less to avoid messing up their hair.
Another set of researchers just laid it on the line and said that ALL African-American Women Could be Overweight by 2034. "All" as in ninety-percent, but it is still alarming.
Mrs. Obama has stated that she would push for healthier food, if her husband makes it to the White House and now that he is there, I wonder how she plans to do it. In February 2008, Mrs. Obama spoke with WebMD about eating healthy and her workout schedule:
How do you manage to work exercise into your busy schedule?
I make it a point to get in a good work out when we're home for a day or two between campaign trips. It's an incredible release and a priority for me.
Is it possible to eat healthy while you are campaigning? If so, how do you so it?
You know, it's tough. Really tough, when you spend a lot of time driving between stops and want to focus on meeting with voters and not sitting down to eat a healthy meal. But I make sure the girls eat right all the time, and I eat healthily when I'm home, so it's ok for a treat when we're working hard on the road.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure food?
French fries. Always.
So, I am wondering - especially if you are a Black woman. Do you think Michelle Obama will inspire Black women to eat healthier and exercise more? Is she inspirational in this area to you?