Obesity has more that just a physical effect on the body. Obesity also greatly affects the mental and emotional part of the body as well. Although you cannot directly correlate metal and emotional health to obesity, you can see that its effects do in fact play a role in the mental and emotional health of an obese person.
While the effects of obesity do indeed reach out to all races, it is easy to see that mental and emotional problems from obesity in the African American culture are present in the culture. Depression, anxiety, and discrimination, are all results that are caused by obesity in the African American community.
Many people are familiar with depression, whether it be a friend or family member that went through it or that they themselves went though it. “Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can have a negative effect on a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, world view and physical well-being” (Salmans 1997).
African American obesity has a close tie with depression in African American people. When people are self-conscious about their weight they may think that people look down on them for this. This would cause them to think less of themselves or believe that others are better then them. In turn it can cause the obese African American to have a bad view of themselves, other people, and the world in general. This is exactly what depression is. You can see that depression can be caused by obesity in the African American culture.
Anxiety is another emotional distress many people are familiar with. Anxiety is know as, “the displeasing feeling of fear and concern” (Davison 2008). Many people have felt the effects of anxiety in their own lives, whether it is before an important test, a speech in front of many people, or the big gam; many people feel anxiety. Looking only at anxiety caused by obesity in African American people is a different situation. Anxiety or nervousness before a big event is common and in many ways healthy because it motivates us to do the very best we can.
Anxiety in African Americans because of obesity is not healthy; in fact it can be dangerous and destructive. By feeling displeased and concerned about their weight African Americans can struggle all through out life to over come these feelings. It could limit their goals and overall make them settle for less then they really can do. Anxiety do to obesity in the African American community is not a healthy and can severely constrain someone’s life.
Discrimination in the African American community has always been a problem through out history. Slavery is a very obvious product of discrimination. Taking a more specific look at discrimination of the African American community because of obesity is a different situation. When people discriminate African Americans because of their weight it seriously prohibits their chances of succeeding in life. It could be in the work place or at school.
By placing these barriers we are limiting the ability of the African American community and hurting their chances of having a successful and meaningful life. These mental and emotional effects of obesity in the African American community are unfair and wrong. People should not be judged on their weight.
Davison, Gerald C. (2008). Abnormal Psychology. Toronto: Veronica Visentin. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-470-84072-6. Salmans, Sandra (1997). Depression: Questions You Have – Answers You Need. People’s Medical Society. ISBN 978-1-882606-14-6.
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