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The Sisters Are Alright by Tamara Winfrey Harris

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Chapter 7

Health: Fat, Sick, and Crazy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 58 percent of African American women over the age of twenty are obese.1 One in four black women over fifty-five has diabetes.2 Heart disease is more prevalent among black women than white women.3 Thirty-seven percent of black women have high blood pressure.4 They also have a rate of depression 50 percent higher than that of white women.5 Persistent stereotypes help explain why the public processes these health challenges with more parts blame and exasperation than compassion. Black women are simply fat, sick, and crazy rather than human beings in need of help.

Many of the ills that plague black women are lifestyle diseases that may be prevented ...

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