African-American women's magazines are more likely to encourage fad diets and reliance on faith to lose weight, while mainstream women's magazines focus more on evidence-based diet strategies, according to the study by UI researcher Shelly Campo, published in a recent issue of the journal Health Communication.
AA women's mags are more likely to suggest Faith as a weight loss strategy, which never is a suggestion in more mainstream mags:
Relying on God or faith was suggested by 1 in 10 weight-loss stories in the African-American magazines, but in almost no weight-loss stories in the mainstream magazines.
The study also says that Black magazines put too much blame on the individual and not enough focus on envrionmental and economic issue that make it difficult for Black women to lose and maintain their weight:
"Both genres are highly guilty of over-reliance on individual strategies," Campo said. "We blame individuals too much for circumstances that are not entirely within their control. We know people living in unsafe neighborhoods are much less likely to exercise. And fast food is cheap compared to fresh fruit and vegetables. To tell a poor person that they made a bad choice because they couldn't afford the salad fixings raises some ethical concerns."
Why is there such an unwillingness in the Black mags to discuss health issues? I haven't been a regular reader of Essence, Ebony or Jet in years but I distinctly remember plenty of articles on making more money, finding a man, God and any number of other issues but not too many on health and fitness and leading a healthy life. It feels like Black women's weight is the elephant in the room (no pun intended) for many Black women and out magazine's reflect this.
What do you think?
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