"That Chart Ain't For Us": An Examination of Black Women's Understandings of BMI, Health, and Physical Activity

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Significantly, black women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the United States, with 60% being classified as obese per the BMI (CDC, 2017). However, there is currently a lack of scholarship which examines black women’s perceptions of the BMI, and how/if those perceptions influence their attitudes toward health and physical activity. In this project, I take a Foucauldian approach to analyze data collected from eight semi-structured interviews with black women who self- identify as obese and who are physically active. Findings suggest that black women find the BMI to be irrelevant to their health and well-being, and do not attribute their engagement in physical activity to their BMI. Instead, their reasons for partaking in physical activity are due to their individual experiences understandings of health and black female identity. These results have the potential to inform healthcare policies, physician practice, and public health interventions that target communities of color.