Saturday, May 25, 2024


Is Being Big-Boned Just A Myth?

January 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Health, News, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) We all are familiar with this expression of being “big-boned” or “thick”, are we not? There are some that may unwittingly use this as a crutch for being overweight, but there are others that will openly proclaim and proudly acknowledge themselves as such. Then too, several high profile celebrities have even been known to encourage this flaunting of obesity – if you will. Although there is some pride association with this term, the on-going debate has been; whether or not being “big-boned” has any bearing on Black’s tendency to gain weight and lean more on the robust side.

To that end, as a direct result of these various lines of reasoning’s, we have entire generations of folks in denial, citing that they are not fat, just “big boned”. In fact, it is becoming apart of our evolutionary conditioning.

In lieu of the current obesity, and obesity-related illness trend that exists, there is not a more perfect time to discuss whether the notion of big bones is a precursor for being fat ; is it a real term, or conjured?. This could very well be one example out of many, of our culture’s own self-imposed belief systems.

To get a clearer understanding on this hazy issue, let’s look at a few quick facts to raise a level of suspicion around this term of “big boned” as it relates to being fat or overweight for any “body”. We can then ultimately decide if it has a solid basis for existence in the first place.

* What is fat really anyway?

In short: Fat = unwanted stored energy. One pound of fat represents about 3,500 excess calories. This explanation has nothing to do with an individual’s bones.

* How is being overweight measured or determined?

In short: Being overweight is determined by using BMI (Body Mass Index) as a way of measuring how much body fat is in the body through calculation of height to weight ratios. Once again this refers to the amount of fat in the body; not bone size.

* How is bone size determined?

Bone mass (size) = the amount (‘weight’) of bone that is present in the body.

From a scientific standpoint, bone mass/size has more to do with the measurement of the mineral content of the bone. Researchers use bone mass when conducting studies that compare Blacks’ bone sizes to their white counterparts. Of course, this is not to support any claim to a higher incidence of obesity in Blacks due to “bigger bones”; but rather as a factor in the lesser incidence of fractures and osteoporosis amongst Blacks.

Looking at the facts about fat with respects to bone size gives no real indication that bones really have any thing at all to do with being overweight. It is true enough that as humans and even those within the same race that we all will have different body structures and types. No doubt, some may even perhaps have a pre-disposition of being slightly to moderately overweight. However, we have no legitimate reason to use the term “big boned” to explain away our obesity issues as a culture.

We have passed around this general belief for too long and because of this – in conjunction with poor lifestyle habits, a disproportionate number of Blacks are suffering. While it’s good to encourage a positive self-image of all body types, let’s do it the informed, healthy and reasonable way – today and everyday!

Written By Makeisha Lee


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