When people have less access to the better things in life, their quality of life suffers. We don't need a bunch of studies to tell us that. All one needs to do is open their eyes to notice that when people don't have as much within reach, they stop trying to grab anything. This is very much true in the African American community, and Jazz Keyes pointed that out in Ebony when she went on to explain how and why the eating habits of black people have been impacting them far longer than we thought.
According to this report, almost 50% of black people in America are currently classified as obese. A surprising statistic that made Keyes travel back in time to pinpoint why this is so. She headed right back to when black people came to America during the slave trade. Gone were their tribal lands where they could hunt animals and have the cream of the crop. Instead, they were given their owner's scraps to make due with. In turn, the foundation of soul food was born. In time these recipes and traditions continued to be passed down with very little change. So, the unhealthy factor stayed in place.
It didn't stop there though. In modern times, as black communities fell short in terms of income. When you don't have the money to eat well you just can't. Even with the help of programs like Welfare, it's just not enough. Especially when you're trying to get the most bang for your buck. Healthy food is expensive as hell in most cases. Often we see the sad joke that asks why a salad is like $10, but a burger is a couple of bucks. When you have limited funds, you're going to eat what you can afford and in most cases that isn't anything organic, healthy or very nutritious.
It isn't just the traditions or cost that has led to this point. As a whole, black people have often celebrated larger frames. We tend to shine a light on being "big boned" and of course we see this over and over in hip hop videos where the so-called "vixens" are thick women. We see that as the norm and don't think twice about the health factors that go into being a bigger person, or in this case...big boned.
While we cannot change the past when it comes to the soul food that’s been passed down, we can change the eating habits of black people to be a little healthier. Of course if one cannot afford to head to Whole Foods for better ingredients, one can look into becoming part of a community garden to get more fresh food into their diet. Also, we need to realize that big boned isn’t a bad thing just so long as one stays active to insure their figure isn’t affecting their health in the long run.