When You Gain Weight, Do You Notice?

When You Gain Weight, Do You Notice?

According to a recent study at the University of Texas Medical Branch, African-American women lead other groups in being able to recognize when they have been gaining weight.

Published January 19, 2012

How good are you at noticing that you may have put on some weight? Must your pants be a little snug or your thighs rubbing together before you admit you should be eating less sweet potato pie and more apples?

Well, according to a recent study, African-American women lead other groups in being able to recognize when they have been gaining weight.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, surveyed over 460 women with an average age of 25 about their ability to notice weight gain every 6 months to 3 years. According to HealthDay, they found the following:

•    Nearly one-third of the women did not recognize weight gains of 4.5 pounds during a six-month period.
•    Nearly one-quarter did not recognize weight gains of 8.8 pounds.
•    Those most likely to recognize weight gain were Black women, along with those who used the birth control injection depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, or DMPA.


Researchers found these findings to be unexpected, given the high rates of obesity among African-American women.

The study’s lead author, Mahbubur Rahman, an assistant professor in the university’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, said in a press statement, "We were surprised to find that race and ethnicity are determinants of accurate recognition of weight gain, predictors that have never before been reported."

This is just one study, and more research needs to be done on understanding how weight-gain recognition and race are connected.

The finding raises other questions: Does acknowledging weight gain equate with the recognition that one is overweight or obese? Does knowing about weight gain equate with actually doing something about it? That's when it gets tricky, because it looks like the answers tend to be “no.”

Past studies have found that 25 percent of American women harbor serious misconceptions about their weight, believing their weight is fine when in fact they are overweight or obese.


Last May, BET.com reported that Jennifer Hudson  was among those with serious misconceptions about their weight. In an interview with British magazine Grazia, she said:

I never thought I was overweight. I thought my old look was pretty normal. That was how all the girls looked growing up in Chicago. I didn’t have any problem with it. It makes me smile to think back to myself when I did Dreamgirls with Beyoncé. I did see all these women in Hollywood, all very slim, and I thought, ‘Wow, these ladies are very into themselves.’ I loved that I stood out in a room. You knew when you saw this woman it was Jennifer Hudson.

Do you notice weight gain? And if you do, what do you do about it?

BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world.


Written by Kellee Terrell


Latest in news