There are several reasons why men from the South-East grow pot bellies. Some of these reasons are cultural, others are social, and one or two are related to eating habits and lifestyle.
Through empircal research, Obindigbo Magazine gathered the following factors as reasons why Igbo men grow pot bellies.
- Social Status:
In Igbo societies, men with protruding tummies are highly regarded. While, Hausas loathe beer belies, Igbos and some other traditional Southern societies cherish and hold more favourable opinions about pot-bellied men.
Pot-bellied men in Igboland are viewed as wealthy, powerful or, at worse, comfortable and satisfied in life. This not so correct view of life tenaciously held by some Igbos encourage younger men to develop bellies in order to receive such praise and recognition from members of their hometown.
- Sign of Wealth:
This point, we know, is a controversial one. Most Igbo men (as they accumulate wealth) begin to change their lifestyle. They no longer walk the distances to their business places. Instead, they just “drive down.” Their efforts change from running after potential customers to sitting around office desks and controlling an entire business empire from there the whole day.
Computer has a lot also to do with this. Huge import and export transactions are now handled electronically over internet connections, which consequently increases the sitting around of most multimillionaire Igbo merchants as well as limits the number of physical movements they make in the day.
Generally, in Igboland, as men grow older, they develop pot bellies. This is because the common culture among people of the South-East is for men to decrease their level of physical activity as they advance with age, but on the other hand, simultaneously increasing their mental activity and reasoning powers.
For instance, it is a taboo in Igboland for men of certain age to be seen running around on the streets like children. Instead such men are required to walk in a dignified manner that suggests maturity and self-respect. Mature men in Igbo land are people who are in tune with their inner selves, and are also making good use of their “sixth” sense.
- Marital Status:
Generally, unmarried Igbo guys have muscular body frames with well-sculpted abs and six-packs. This is attributed, by some people, to the fact that most unmarried Igbo men rarely take time to cook and eat well at home. Most Igbo bachelors survive on minimum meals sold at restaurants. They are also among the most common category of people hitting the gyms and pumping the weights either at home, within their neighborhoods, and at most fitness centers.
But after marriage, most Igbo men stop using the gyms. They also gain more access to home-cooked meals and a lot of it. These lifestyle changes can encourage excessive eating habits that cause pot-bellies.