Most Africans think the following when it comes to weight gain:
- It is a sign of good health and wealth
- It is a blessing from God
- When you have a large stature, you are taken more seriously
- Pot bellies, called the “Sikafuo,” signify wealth
In fact, Ghanaians call “big” people “tintin gramo” or “okesea,” meaning big and tall or huge, and leaner people are called “lenge lenge,” meaning skinny, and this carries a stigma of poor nutrition or poverty.
SEE ALSO: The Secret to Weight Loss, African-Style
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Interestingly enough, all the above is wrong and contrary to the truth; being overweight and obese are actually markers of poor health.
Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, cancers, and strokes, which happen to be the three-leading causes of death among people of African origin.
Finally, obesity has been associated with all causes of mortality.
As your BMI (weight) increases, your chances of dying early increases. With this knowledge, it is inconceivable that God will “bless” anyone with obesity. He gives us just the right weight for our heights.
People of African origin have the highest rate of hypertension at 45 percent. Normal blood pressure is less than 140/90 mmHg for people less than 60 years old or with diabetes regardless of age. For people older than 60 years old, normal blood pressure is less than 150/90 mmHg.
Why Hypertension Is Dangerous
According to the CDC, “More than 348,000 American deaths in 2009 included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause.
That is 1,000 deaths each day!
High blood pressure increases your risk for dangerous health conditions:
- First heart attack: About 7 of every 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure.
- First stroke: About 8 of every 10 people having their first stroke have high blood pressure.
- Chronic (long lasting) heart failure: About 7 of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.
See the below chart for guidance in making lifestyle changes to bring down your high blood pressure:
Now let’s make a life-saving — and life enhancing — change!
SEE ALSO: How I Lost 30 Pounds in 6 Months