Surely you’ve noticed, especially in the last few weeks, when the national obsession encompassed all things back-to-school. If you’ve passed a school bus stop, attended an open house or helped a loved one unpack at college, there’s no way you missed the disproportionate amount of overweight and obese African-American children, teens and young adults.

Our numbers just keep getting worse.

I’d read about the harmful hormones and drugs injected into our meats and poultry, but again, my current flirtation with vegetarianism was not influenced by stories like that. However, ever since reading – and re-reading – this Huffington Post article linking the early onset of puberty to meat, as well as other science-based data stating the same, I can’t help but believe that although eight of 10 black women are overweight, it’s not 100 percent our fault.


But it is 100 percent our responsibility to do something about it.

In the HuffPo piece, Christine Pirello wrote, “American girls are hitting puberty earlier than ever before. A new study released by the medical journal, Pediatrics, reveals a surprisingly big bump in the numbers of girls going through puberty between the ages of seven and eight. In a study of 1,200 seven-year-old girls, 10 percent of Caucasians had some breast development as compared to 5 percent in a study published back in 1997. Worse, a whopping 23 percent of African American girls had started puberty as compared to 15 percent back in the 1997 study. And our eight-year-olds? The numbers are staggering. Eighteen percent of Caucasian girls and 43 percent of African American girls had reached early puberty, up from 11 percent for both groups in the 1997 study.”

As I said, you’ve seen them – girls and pre-teens with breasts so large you wonder if they’ll ever see their feet again.

The fact that hormones fed to cows, chickens and pigs have been slowly poisoning us really isn’t all that new. Most of us just choose to ignore it, thinking the government wouldn’t allow such things to get out of hand, right? Wrong. You’ll recall that the beef industry tried to rain hell and damnation on Oprah’s head for just for making this statement – “I will never eat a burger again” – on her own show about mad cow disease. Of course, the beef industry lost, but the fact is, if they can drag girlfriend into court, what do you think they could do to you?


Still, this is far from your control. Pirello writes:

The solution to this problem is easy and obvious. Our children are being destroyed in the name of profit by big industry and factory farms who feed their animals steroids, growth hormones and antibiotics to make them fatter, faster. More and more yield of meat from an animal means more and more profit, and if we need to sacrifice a generation of children along the way, so be it. And these are not just the rantings of some liberal, tree-hugging vegan. According to Cornell University, hormones "reduce the waiting time and the amount of feed eaten by an animal before slaughter in meat industries." And that means bigger profit… faster.


While the childhood obesity problem is linked to the overconsumption of processed food, drive-through, dinner in a bucket and the sheer volume of sugar and other junk our kids are eating, we must also look at the role growth hormones play in the size of our kids and the age they reach puberty.

Wake up, people. If hormones can make an animal fat, what do you think will happen to us?



My reaction is that free speech not only lives, it rocks!  ~   Oprah Winfrey, after winning beef lawsuit


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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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