Afflictions of tradition: trends and consequences of traditional African American foodways
Heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and high cholesterol are among the leading health concerns facing African Americans. Since these conditions are related largely to lifestyle choices, such as diet, it is important to highlight the historical social significance of African American foodways, known as soul food. Using personal narratives from former slaves and individuals recollecting American life during socially traumatic times, - including life under Jim Crow laws, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights movement -compared with African American cookbooks from the same periods, show connections between dietary patterns and changes in African American identity. This along with information from studies of the causes, effects, and treatments of metabolic disorders shows that the prevalence can be seen as results of dietary traditions, maintained as coping mechanism for social marginalization.