Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/16/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Unlike other nations, overweight women prized in culture where starvation is ongoing problem

It's hard to believe that with the negative stigma attached with obesity inmost western cultures that in some places plump, overweight women are viewed as status symbols. In nations such as India and Pakistan, where many go to bed hungry every night, being overweight is seen as a badge of prosperity. Many female Pakistani movie stars tip the scale at 300 pounds plus. In the West African nation of Mauritania, many women are force-fed in order to attract a spouse . in a perverse substitute of the standard western ideal.

Many Mauritanian women are pushed to dangerous lengths by taking pills that are not fit for human consumption.

Many Mauritanian women are pushed to dangerous lengths by taking pills that are not fit for human consumption.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/16/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Mauritania, obesity, force feeding, hormone pills, women, marriage


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many Mauritanian women are fattened up "like foie gras geese" and ingest dangerous animal growth hormones to satisfy local men's love for larger ladies. The self-inflected obesity crisis here is putting the lives of women at risk.

The nation of Mauritania, between the Western Sahara and Senegal, women are encouraged to fatten up from childhood in order to be considered attractive. A fat wife is desirable here, a sign of wealth and prestige in a country where food is in short supply.

Many Mauritanian women are pushed to dangerous lengths by taking pills that are not fit for human consumption.

U.S. journalist Thomas Morton was sent to Mauritania was sent to Mauritania for the HBO miniseries "Vice." He was pushed far beyond a mere reporting role as he also had to eat the diet of the Mauritanian women and take the pills they took to see what impact it had on his health.
Girls are fattened up from the age of eight by their families in a practice referred to as "gavage," a French word that means force feeding and is used to describe the fattening of geese.

Girls of a marriageable age are then sent to "fat camps" in the desert where they are fed 15,000 calories a day.

Girls have breadcrumbs soaked in olive oil washed down with camel's milk. They then have frequent meals throughout the day of goat's meat, bread, figs and couscous, all with more camel milk to drink.

Many refer to the over-eating as torture. Parents have been known to crush their daughters' toes with pincers if they resist.

Morton put on nearly a stone in two days and was left feeling bloated and unhealthy. "Women can't have children because of this type of gavage. The big problem is this often leads to heart failure, repeated heart attacks, rare are the ones who escape.

"It feels like the food has filled my entire chest cavity and is now deflating my lungs.'

Mauritanian women have found another way to gain weight that's easier to stomach but just as damaging to their health - taking pills.

"Medication is the modern form of gavage. Women use steroids and they are taking pills made from birds. These pills are not meant to be used by humans," one local woman told Morton:

The women said the animal growth hormones end up giving the women who take them a disproportionate body shape with a big stomach, face and breasts but thin arms and legs. "The person now looks more like a seal than a human being."

The technique has a wide variety of dangerous side effects from infertility to heart failure.

"Women can't have children because of this type of gavage. The big problem is this often leads to heart failure, repeated heart attacks, rare are the ones who escape. There are consequences - diseases, malformations and insanity," the woman told Morton.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Africa

Dozens of people injured in riots in Tizi Ouzou Watch

Image of The unrest that has been swirling around the region in the Berber-speaking area of Tizi-Ouzou is reason for concern among the local population.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Dozens of people have been injured in riots at Tizi Ouzo, which is east of the capital of Algiers in Algeria. The unrest erupted after 77-year-old Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was re-elected for a fourth term. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


Hundreds of unarmed men, women and children slaughtered in South Sudanese village Watch

Image of More than one million people have fled their homes since fighting broke out in December between troops backing President Salva Kiir and soldiers loyal to his sacked vice president, Riek Machar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In some of the worst violence yet in the world's newest nations, hundreds of unarmed men, women and children were slaughtered by rebels in the South Sudanese town of Bentiu. Refugees had sought refuge in a hospital, mosque and a Catholic church, the United ... continue reading


Nation holds breath over fate of 100 kidnapped schoolgirls Watch

Image of Gunmen raided the school after shooting both a solder and a policemen down in cold blood before herding the students onto trucks and driving away, according to police and eyewitnesses.The gunmen were members of the Islamist group calling itself Boko Haram.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than one hundred Nigerian schoolgirls remain missing after a brazen nighttime kidnapping believed to have been carried out by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. The military was forced last to retract an earlier statement that most of the captives ... continue reading


Fifteen soldiers killed in Kabylia as reorganized terrorist groups go on attack Watch

Image of The moment chosen by al-Qaeda's North African branch, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM fighters to perpetrate their attack is one of great concern.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Two days after the reelection of 77-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fourth term, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, reorganized terrorists groups to go on the attack the region of Iboudrarene in Kabylia. Fifteen Algerian soldiers were ... continue reading


Christians, Muslims fight to the death in besieged Central African Republic town Watch

Image of The presence of the French military in Boda is everywhere evident. Flags hang from some shacks and a handful of French armored vehicles sporadically patrol the town.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The village of Boda in the Central African Republic stands as stark testimony to the anarchy that has gripped one of the African continent's poorest nations. Christians and Islamist Muslims have clashed violently since late 2012, when a battle for political ... continue reading


Andromeda Strain? Ebola outbreak in West Africa is new strain of disease Watch

Image of Using analysis of blood samples from infected patients, researchers determined that while the Guinean form of the Ebola virus (EBOV) showed a 97 percent similarity to the Zaire strain, the disease was not introduced from Central Africa.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus, a virulent incurable disease where the body's internal organs "melt" in ongoing in West Africa. To date, 122 deaths in Guinea and 13 deaths in Liberia have been blamed on the disease. Since Ebola is endemic to the countries ... continue reading


IMPLACABLE EVIL: Militant Muslim group Boko Haram terrorizes Nigeria Watch

Image of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram has escalated the violence. The group murdered and kidnapped Westerners and started a bombing campaign that targeted churches, mosques and government buildings.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Boko Haram, whose name means that "Western education is sin" in the native Hausa language of Nigeria, has leaped once again into international headlines with the abduction of more than 100 schoolgirls. The group has bombed schools, churches and mosques; ... continue reading


Algerian presidential election ends in violence, much disappointment Watch

Image of Speaking in a barely audible whisper, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, looking wan and frail, waved to the crowds at the announcement of his electoral victory.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

The Algerian presidential election ended in accusations, invectives and violence. The disappointment here is palpable: Elderly and infirm incumbent president, 77-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been re-elected to another five-year term. Left incapacitated ... continue reading


Vowing not to repeat mistakes of Arab Spring, Mauritanians forge new democracy Watch

Image of The group aims to promote the virtues of citizenship against a backdrop of cultural tribalism, regionalism and racism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time, the African nation of Mauritania is in the position to lay down the foundations of a democratic government. That nation's power is now being officially handed over from the military to civilian authorities. It won't be a simple or easy ... continue reading


Speaking out: Reporters Without Borders tell U.S. Secretary Kerry about Algeria's issue Watch

Image of Candidates point out that fraud will play a large part in Algeria's presidential election.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

United States Secretary of State John Kerry made a two-day visit to Algiers on the second and third day of April. Kerry touched down in the African nation for strategic dialogue between the U.S. and Algeria. Viewed as an important opportunity to revive economic ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter