BY Ama Nunoo, 3:28pm October 23, 2019,

Why having a plump wife in Africa was believed to be a sign of wealth

Photo: Pikstagram

There have been conversations lately on weight loss, obesity, ‘fit fam’, Ketogenic diets and the likes.

Many are saying being fit is the new sexy and people who buy into the stories are either signing up to online fitness groups or getting a new gym membership.

Typical African men are said to like women with a fuller figure and in most traditions, when your wife is plump or full-bodied, it is believed that the man can provide three square meals for the woman and the rest of the family.

This has not been substantiated by any research, but this notion has been passed on from generation to generation.

Why having a plump wife in Africa was believed to be a sign of wealth

Photo: AfroCosmopolitan

Though many are now enlightened about the many health risks of obesity, they would still rather have a curvier and thicker wife than a slim one and that is okay too.

For Thando Tshabalala, a corporate trainer in South Africa, life as an obese man was uncomfortable for him.

He told The Guardian in an interview: “To be honest I feel rather self-conscious about my size.”

“There is this saying in South Africa that if you have a one-pack belly, like a beer belly, you must have lots of money, but if you have a six-pack there is something wrong. But I know it is not really a sign of success to have a big belly,” Tshabalala told the reporter during research on obesity in Africa.

One known report of a “wife-fattening” farm in Africa was in Mauritius among the white Moor Arabs. Having a fat wife was so esteemed by everyone in the community that girls were deliberately “force-fed” as children in preparation for their role as a “fat wife” for their husbands.

Obesity in the African setting with regards to the dating scene has never been a problem for women as much as it has been for men.

Men who are obese usually have trouble getting dates whiles most obese women do not have that much trouble getting dates.

The only concern here is when people just want “fat” wives for aesthetics without thinking about the health implications.

Though most African women are comfortable with their size, millennials are gravitating to the “thick fit” trend rather than the just being obese.

What this means is, they would want to lose weight at all the unwanted parts, that is, underarms, stomach and in between their thighs.

Why having a plump wife in Africa was believed to be a sign of wealth

Photo: Sis Couture

So, the new narrative among young women on the streets lately borders on being healthy first, then fit and curvy thereby indulging in targeted exercises that will only get rid of the unwanted fats.

While everybody is encouraged to feel comfortable in their own skin, doctors advise that you will be more comfortable in a healthier body than a sick one.

We all need to take care of our bodies and experts advise us to start by watching our meals. No matter what body size you are, you are susceptible to many ailments that can be alleviated by eating healthier.

Also, obesity is known to be the leading cause of many chronic diseases. If the obese person has a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, gallstones and other chronic illnesses then the likelihood of contracting such diseases increases.

Obesity is not a sign of wealth and while we are not here to body shame anyone, the better option for everyone is to be healthy regardless of your body size.

Why having a plump wife in Africa was believed to be a sign of wealth

Photo: Pinterest

If you are unsure about your current health status with regards to being overweight or obese, visit your doctor and get expert advice on living a healthier life.

There are so many nutritionists and health coaches online that can help but make sure to verify their qualifications before signing up with them.

Last Edited by:Ama Nunoo Updated: February 4, 2021


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