EFOC: It’s Time To Talk About Black Women’s Bodies in the Quick Diet Era
NEW ORLEANS- On June 30th, 2023, Dr. Courtney Washington and Dr. Eric Griggs sat down with our senior lifestyle editor, Victoria Uwumarogie, at ESSENCE Fest on the Main Stage to break down what people need to understand about the latest trend of weight-loss drugs, Ozempic. Semaglutide, represented under brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus, is an antidiabetic medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and an anti-obesity medication used for long-term weight management, developed by Novo Nordisk in 2012. Although the medication is meant for diabetes, many people have been taking the drug to lose weight, which can cause serious ramifications, like thyroid tumors, including cancer. We’ve tapped Dr. Washington and Dr. Griggs about how it’s still important to incorporate a healthy diet and daily exercise into your wellness routine and not rely solely on Ozempic or fad diets as a quick fix.
We asked Dr. Washington, a primary care physician here in New Orleans, to speak about why it’s important for Black women to protect their bodies and how unhealthy wellness routines and body image impacts our community more than others. “Some women struggled or had a problem with their weight when they were younger, or their relationship with food, as maybe it was for comfort. The second group is those who gain weight from a stressful pregnancy, and then we also age. So when it comes to weight loss/gain, it’s deeper than the outward appearance and how it makes you feel. It also has much to do with health, as the risk of diabetes or hypertension is there,” says Washington on the ESSENCE Main Stage.
Dr. Griggs advocates for healthy body movement and often visits the doctor to lose weight versus using a medication, as he often says, “Get checked, get fit, get moving. “It’s, first of all, more than just going to the doctor,” Dr. Griggs states. He continues, “It’s also about talking about the importance of health with your family. Going to the doctor once a year is something that we don’t think about, and we’ll plan a trip like this. Plan your doctor appointments. We tend to vilify our bodies, and we’re just too beautiful for people to be doing any of that, as we’re amazing and beautiful people. So understanding what to eat, how to eat, and what works best for your body,” he says.
In conclusion, both doctors suggest engaging with your family and sparking dialogue about health, cooking with your kids to help them learn healthy habits, and deepening our mental health practice.