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“It is very interesting to note that even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women, black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others . . .
“What accounts for the markedly lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women? Black women are, on average, much heavier than non-black women.”
“Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”
May 15, 2011
Removed from Psychology Today Web site after uproar
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Althea Cuff, a medical technologist from Largo, has been a regular at morning boot camp for years. She lingers after class with the women who have become part of her fitness community. She’s tall, and her blue sleeveless tank shows off well-toned arms. Cuff grew up overweight but lost 64 pounds more than two decades ago.
“I wanted to get healthy,” says Cuff, who is 5-foot-6 and 165 pounds.
In the Post-Kaiser survey, 90 percent of black women say living a healthful lifestyle is very important to them, outranking religion, career, marriage and other priorities. Yet two-thirds report eating at fast-food restaurants at least once a week, and just more than half cook dinner at home on a regular basis.
For Cuff, being healthy doesn’t mean being a size 2: “That’s not what I grew up seeing. It wasn’t in my makeup. It’s not about trying to identify with somebody else.”
Even when celebrities such as Queen Latifah and Jennifer Hudson have touted dramatic weight loss in magazines and commercials, they have largely retained their curves. Among black women who want to lose weight, having model proportions is often not the goal.
For 10 years, Joseph Neil has worked with people of all races across the Washington area as a full-time trainer and certified nutritionist. Black women usually come to him with a body-mass index (a measurement of weight to height) of 29, while for white women it’s usually 22 or 23, he says. Anything over 25 is considered overweight.
He attributes the higher BMI among African American women to work demands, which he says lead to fast-food lifestyles, less exercise and fewer healthful eating options in majority-black places such as Prince George’s County.
Among Neil’s clients, white women “are self-conscious about the numbers. They say I want to weigh 110, 115, 120.” Black women, who always say they want to keep their curves, “give me sizes — 6, 8, 10, 12.”
“White women are not coming to a trainer saying I want to be a 12. Every white woman who wants to work out and train wants to be petite, petite, no curves, no hips, no butt, nothing, just toned,” he says.