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Que Gordita By Emily Massara top left: rice and beans, chicken, fried plantains, and empenadas Middle: gordita Right: pastel and rice with vienna sausage.

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Presentation on theme: "Que Gordita By Emily Massara top left: rice and beans, chicken, fried plantains, and empenadas Middle: gordita Right: pastel and rice with vienna sausage."— Presentation transcript:

1 Que Gordita By Emily Massara top left: rice and beans, chicken, fried plantains, and empenadas Middle: gordita Right: pastel and rice with vienna sausage

2 Obesity and Puerto Rican Women In Philadelphia, Puerto Rican women have a 19.4% higher incidence of obesity than Puerto Rican men In Philadelphia, Puerto Rican women have a 19.4% higher incidence of obesity than Puerto Rican men Women under 25 have the lowest incidence of obesity, at 13.3% Women under 25 have the lowest incidence of obesity, at 13.3% Women in the age group have an obesity incidence of 60.6% Women in the age group have an obesity incidence of 60.6% Highest of all is the incidence of obesity in women between the ages of forty and eighty, at 80% Highest of all is the incidence of obesity in women between the ages of forty and eighty, at 80% The causes for high levels of obesity in Puerto Rican women can be both cultural and psychological The causes for high levels of obesity in Puerto Rican women can be both cultural and psychological

3 A Cultural Background for Obesity Puerto Rican women are expected to gain weight during the early years of marriage, one reason for such an increase in obesity after women turn 26 Puerto Rican women are expected to gain weight during the early years of marriage, one reason for such an increase in obesity after women turn 26 Married women are expected to gain at least between fifteen and twenty pounds following marriage Married women are expected to gain at least between fifteen and twenty pounds following marriage Gaining weight in the beginning of marriage serves as a visible sign that the woman’s husband has been able to provide for her Gaining weight in the beginning of marriage serves as a visible sign that the woman’s husband has been able to provide for her In contrast to white American views on weight, overweight women in the Puerto Rican community are seen as possessing shapeliness, vitality and health In contrast to white American views on weight, overweight women in the Puerto Rican community are seen as possessing shapeliness, vitality and health

4 A Cultural Background for Obesity Puerto Rican women strive to be good wives and mothers, because it is culturally important to them Puerto Rican women strive to be good wives and mothers, because it is culturally important to them Being a good wife includes preparing generous amounts of traditional Puerto Rican foods which are high in carbohydrates and fats Being a good wife includes preparing generous amounts of traditional Puerto Rican foods which are high in carbohydrates and fats Wives are also expected to share all meals with their husbands, such as preparing him a meal after eating out because only the wife’s cooking fills him, or eating a late dinner with her husband even if she has already dined Wives are also expected to share all meals with their husbands, such as preparing him a meal after eating out because only the wife’s cooking fills him, or eating a late dinner with her husband even if she has already dined All of those factors contribute to weight gain All of those factors contribute to weight gain The desire to be a good mother contributes to obesity; cultural belief is that restraining from eating or not eating when and what the pregnant woman wants will jeopardize the well-being of the baby, so that pregnant women feel obligated to eat often The desire to be a good mother contributes to obesity; cultural belief is that restraining from eating or not eating when and what the pregnant woman wants will jeopardize the well-being of the baby, so that pregnant women feel obligated to eat often Also, women feel a need to provide for their family, and go to as great lengths for their children’s meals as they do for their husbands Also, women feel a need to provide for their family, and go to as great lengths for their children’s meals as they do for their husbands

5 Puerto Rican Views on Obesity Because there are few negative social consequences surrounding obesity in Puerto Rican culture, women can be unselfconscious about their weight Because there are few negative social consequences surrounding obesity in Puerto Rican culture, women can be unselfconscious about their weight In addition, concern about weight and its effect on appearance do not coincide with the important self- concepts of good wife and mother In addition, concern about weight and its effect on appearance do not coincide with the important self- concepts of good wife and mother “Mild” and “moderate” forms of medical obesity may be aspired to by some because of the associated positive connotations of “tranquility,” health, and a lack of problems in life “Mild” and “moderate” forms of medical obesity may be aspired to by some because of the associated positive connotations of “tranquility,” health, and a lack of problems in life

6 Stress and Cultural Factors Pressures on Puerto Rican women, in combination with cultural factors, can lead to a more medically severe form of obesity Pressures on Puerto Rican women, in combination with cultural factors, can lead to a more medically severe form of obesity Wanting to maintain the image of good wife and mother, Puerto Rican women channel socially unacceptable feelings inward Wanting to maintain the image of good wife and mother, Puerto Rican women channel socially unacceptable feelings inward It is uncommon in their culture to speak out about their negative feelings It is uncommon in their culture to speak out about their negative feelings Women then use unrestrained eating as a way to dodge these negative feelings, which leads to obesity Women then use unrestrained eating as a way to dodge these negative feelings, which leads to obesity In these case studies, the women would most often explain their weight gain away by factors beyond their control and not because they ate too much In these case studies, the women would most often explain their weight gain away by factors beyond their control and not because they ate too much

7 Conclusion Cultural values that include the family, sex roles, food, and health all shape the causes, significance, and effects of obesity in the Puerto Rican community Cultural values that include the family, sex roles, food, and health all shape the causes, significance, and effects of obesity in the Puerto Rican community While all of the women in the study had weight-related illnesses, the relationship between weight and these diseases was neither socially recognized nor acknowledged While all of the women in the study had weight-related illnesses, the relationship between weight and these diseases was neither socially recognized nor acknowledged For some Puerto Rican women, “heaviness” is valued despite negative effects on health For some Puerto Rican women, “heaviness” is valued despite negative effects on health

8 Soul, Black Women, and Food By Marvalene H. Hughes Collard greens with turkey wings Sweet potato pie

9 Soul, Food, and African American Women This article takes a slightly different approach to cultural connections to food by adding the focus of how soul food helps to perpetuate African and African American traditions This article takes a slightly different approach to cultural connections to food by adding the focus of how soul food helps to perpetuate African and African American traditions The dominant figure in traditional African-American food culture is the woman The dominant figure in traditional African-American food culture is the woman Meal preparation expresses her “love, nurturance, creativity, sharing, patience, economic frustration, survival, and the very core of her African heritage” Meal preparation expresses her “love, nurturance, creativity, sharing, patience, economic frustration, survival, and the very core of her African heritage”

10 African Traditions in Soul Food Some foods have been important in African and African American cuisine for centuries Some foods have been important in African and African American cuisine for centuries Sweet potatoes have been a staple food since the beginnings of African slavery Sweet potatoes have been a staple food since the beginnings of African slavery African slaves brought watermelon seeds, black-eyed peas and okra to North America African slaves brought watermelon seeds, black-eyed peas and okra to North America Both okra and black-eyed peas are important ingredients of soul food dishes Both okra and black-eyed peas are important ingredients of soul food dishes

11 Soul Food and Identity Food has been used as a way to maintain African identity Food has been used as a way to maintain African identity Recipes are passed down from generation to generation in the oral African tradition Recipes are passed down from generation to generation in the oral African tradition The kitchen serves as a place for family bonding The kitchen serves as a place for family bonding Preparing soul food for her family represents the African American woman’s ability to provide for her family Preparing soul food for her family represents the African American woman’s ability to provide for her family The resulting “plumpness” is a symbol not only of the African American woman’s ability to provide, but also represents health and prosperity The resulting “plumpness” is a symbol not only of the African American woman’s ability to provide, but also represents health and prosperity

12 The Importance of Soul Food The ritual of eating home-cooked meals is observed, not because of economic necessity, but because it shows a commitment to preserving “soul” in food preparation The ritual of eating home-cooked meals is observed, not because of economic necessity, but because it shows a commitment to preserving “soul” in food preparation Soul food transcends class barriers and geography. One is likely to find similar soul food dishes at meals in the suburbs and the inner city across the US Soul food transcends class barriers and geography. One is likely to find similar soul food dishes at meals in the suburbs and the inner city across the US Soul food also plays an important part in religious celebrations Soul food also plays an important part in religious celebrations The African American preacher is privileged with receiving the choicest foods, and is honored by being the first to choose his food at community meals The African American preacher is privileged with receiving the choicest foods, and is honored by being the first to choose his food at community meals

13 The Effect of Soul Food on Health Despite a causal relationship between the diet of African Americans and hypertension, Hughes notes that “diet may play a less significant role in killing Blacks than the oppressive conditions in American culture.” Despite a causal relationship between the diet of African Americans and hypertension, Hughes notes that “diet may play a less significant role in killing Blacks than the oppressive conditions in American culture.” This includes stress due to economic and personal oppression, job deprivation, and externally caused depression This includes stress due to economic and personal oppression, job deprivation, and externally caused depression The excessive eating of some African American women might be caused by these emotional stressors The excessive eating of some African American women might be caused by these emotional stressors Hughes’ conclusion is, short term pleasure is better than a life without any pleasure, meaning that women see little reason to cut down on their eating when it is one of the few things in life that allow them pleasure Hughes’ conclusion is, short term pleasure is better than a life without any pleasure, meaning that women see little reason to cut down on their eating when it is one of the few things in life that allow them pleasure

14 Both of these articles show how being overweight is seen in some cultures as showing economic stability and healthiness Both of these articles show how being overweight is seen in some cultures as showing economic stability and healthiness The effects of cultural factors and stress on women are often health-related, such as diabetes or hypertension The effects of cultural factors and stress on women are often health-related, such as diabetes or hypertension When stress and cultural conditions are combined, women in these cultures are more likely to be severely obese When stress and cultural conditions are combined, women in these cultures are more likely to be severely obese Because their communities valued plumpness, the women often did not attribute their diseases to overeating Because their communities valued plumpness, the women often did not attribute their diseases to overeating


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