Since the election, there’s been a lot of discussion about how America is becoming a post-racial society. And really what could be better than treating people equally regardless of skin color and appearance? Still – being equal doesn’t mean being identical. There is plenty of variation between all of us derived from differences encoded in our DNA, and there is plenty of research going on to understand variability within racial subtypes.
In the early 1990s, the cultural anthropologist known as Sir Mix-A-Lot in his seminal work “Baby Got Back” brought to light the observation that there was among certain African American women a tendency for adiposity in the upper thighs and buttocks.
And it turns out, Mix-A-Lot was correct in his observation. In a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers from the Children’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh have found that in a study following pre- and post-adolescents (both white and black) that more black adolescent girls were overweight (25 to 15%) than their white counterparts and their Resting Metabolic Rate and degree of fat oxidation were significantly lower as well. This was not true for boys and could not be accounted for by dietary and original weight/fat levels, suggesting that there is a genetic component that predisposes young black women to deposit (and/or not metabolize) fat.
More than making a humorous connection, this spells real trouble for this segment of the population as we learn the cost (both individual and societal) of skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes. The authors refer to the “obesogenic” environment that is Western society. Literally, our high calorie, high fat, low exercise lifestyle is killing us (albeit slowly and comfortably) – and here’s one part of the population that has some cards stacked against them to start.