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The Gift of ‘Good Health’
This is the time of year many of us like to relax and take it easy, but not so fast: there’s no time off when it comes to our health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Blacks develop high blood pressure more often, and at an earlier age, than Whites and Hispanics do. More Black women than men have high blood pressure at rates of 45.7% and 43.0% respectively.
This is important information to know as we partake in the holiday food and festivities. As African Americans, we have health issues that require attention year round. High blood pressure doesn’t care about the office Christmas party. Diabetes doesn’t take a day off because we want a piece of pie. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season, but it’s also dangerous. Our health requires constant attention.
Weight gain is another issue worth mentioning. According to the CDC, 37.9% of African American men and 57.6% of African American women over age 20 are obese, and the holiday eating only makes a bad situation worse. There have been many studies on exactly how much weight a person gains between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, with estimates ranging between one and 10 pounds.
How much a person gains is up for debate, but many experts tend to agree on one thing…many of us don’t lose that weight after the holidays are over.
It’s critical we take better care of ourselves year round, and that also means going to the doctor for annual checkups. Many of us black men refuse to go to the doctor, but looking at these numbers, we must take better care of ourselves. It’s time we become proactive when it comes to our health.
High blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases are treatable with proper diet and exercise. Many of the foods we eat are high in sodium and fat with little nutritional value. In order to improve our health, we must cut back on junk food and fast food.
Changing the mindset when it comes to nutrition is key. Eating ‘junk food’ occasionally as a treat is ok, but in moderation. Instead, we must healthy foods like fruit, veggies, baked foods and drink plenty of water.
Exercise plays an important part as well. Workouts don’t have to be “work.” Walking is a simple exercise, but it has many benefits and can be done anytime, anyplace, especially after eating. Small changes in our diet and lifestyles can go a long way towards our overall fitness. Make the changes today and enjoy the gift of good health tomorrow.
Jeffrey White is a Contributor to Healthyblackmen.org. He is a former financial advisor turned author, personal trainer, motivational speaker and wellness coach. Contact him at JeffWhiteFitnessSolutions.