May 2012, Alice Randall wrote an article for The New York Times on the cultural factors that encouraged black women to maintain weight above what is considered healthy. Randall explained—from her observations and her personal experience as a black woman—that many African-American communities and cultures consider women who are overweight to be more beautiful and desirable than women at a healthier weight. As she put it, “Many black women are fat because we want to be” (Randall, 2012).
Randall’s statements sparked a great deal of controversy and debate; however, they emphasize an underlying reality in the healthcare field: different populations, cultures, and groups have diverse beliefs and practices that impact their health. Nurses and healthcare professionals should be aware of this reality and adapt their health assessment techniques and recommendations to accommodate diversity.