Obesity is an ongoing national epidemic, plaguing nearly 78 million adults and 13 million children. An overwhelming percentage of those who are obese and overweight are Black. Grammy-winning producer Damon Elliott was just another statistic until he took back his life with SoulCycle.
BY TIFFANY WALDEN,
While sitting at the table across from his family at a Los Angeles steakhouse, Damon Elliott felt the effects of his hypertension coming on strong. At 310 pounds with a blood pressure of 170 over 130, he regularly suffered headaches and fatigue. But that didn’t stop him from indulging at Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão, his favorite restaurant, with its all-you-can eat fare.
Besides, the son of legendary musicians Dionne Warwick and William Elliott had finally started working out. It was only walking on the treadmill for an hour a day, but that counts for something, right?
“And of course, I’d take the picture for Instagram with a little bit of the sweat and go, ‘Whew! I’m fit for life,’” Elliot recalls, laughing. “Basically, I thought I was doing something.”
Statistically, 31.8 percent of American children ages 2 to 19 and 68.5 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. But the numbers more significantly affect the Black community, in which 69.4 percent of Black men and 81.9 percent of Black women are considered obese or overweight.
According to the body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on weight and height widely used by doctors and researchers, Elliott was considered morbidly obese. At 6 feet 1 inch and 310 pounds, his BMI was 40.9. The overweight range of the BMI falls within 25 and 29.9; the obesity category begins at 30.