Woman on mission to combat obesity among African Americans

May 15, 2019 05:43 PM

While African American women are steadily making progress in education, politics, academics and other areas, there's one area where they are struggling - and it's wreaking havoc on their bodies. It's obesity.

Rosemarie Andrews faced the issue and decided to change the narrative through a documentary. She wants to take the shame out of obesity by putting her struggle front and center.


Andrews loves engaging people, but she wasn't always that outgoing - because of her weight. At her heaviest, she weighed 400 pounds. She says overeating was not the real issue, but she just couldn't get at the real issue. Andrews says in her family, they were obese and just kind of went on.

However, that was hard because she and her siblings were growing up in a very dysfunctional family. Andrews says it was a childhood filled with trauma, poverty – and a mom struggling with mental illness.

WEB EXTRA: The shaming of obesity

As a bi-racial child growing up in Berne in the 1980s, she says she faced racism in school.

At 17, she became pregnant, then her mom died. She ended up in therapy and that's when it all started making sense. She looked at obesity as a symptom of the problem – not the disease. That changed everything.

Nearly four out of five African American women are obese. Obesity may increase the risk for other disorders such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

She decided to get weight loss surgery. Instead of hiding it, she documented it.

Now, she's encouraging others to do the same.

WEB EXTRA: How poverty, abuse impacts poverty

MORE INFORMATION: "Project Shrinking Violent" marketing trailer | Black Girls Run website | Black Girls Run Facebook page | Bariatrics and Weight Loss: St. Peter's Health Partners


Elaine Houston & WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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