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A Healthy Black America Begins with YOU!

There is a crisis of health in black America. Don’t believe me? Interview one person from virtually every black home in America. Someone’s parent, grandparent, sibling or extended family member has succumbed to one of the three big killers of black lives: heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The numbers for heart disease alone are staggering: In 2009, coronary heart disease caused the deaths of 46,334 black males and 48,070 black females, according to the American Heart Association. Poor nutrition, lack of exercise, cigarette smoking and family history are all factors in the health of our community.

If black America is going to get healthy, it begins with you!

Here are five action steps you can take to contribute a healthy black America.

Action Step#1

Get Your Own Exercise Program Started

You don’t have to train like a Navy Seal. Keep it simple. If you have been inactive for the past year, check with your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Commit to doing at least 15-20 minutes of moderate activity per day. Incorporate some form of weight-bearing activity into your routine, even if its natural bodyweight exercises. Make good food choices by staying away from packaged foods. Drink lots of water!

Action Step#2

Become a Health Advocate for your Family

After you have committed to launching your own exercise program, spread the exercise fever to your immediate and extended family. Organize family boot camps. Educate your family about healthy eating habits. Obesity is a particular concern in the black families, especially among women and children. One report suggests that being obese is analogous to twenty years of aging. If just one person takes the lead on health in every black family, we’d solve a lot of our health issues!

Action Step#3

Speak to your Minister about Launching a Health Ministry

Let’s face it. Most of the people who occupy the pew on any given Sunday in black America are overweight or obese. The black church is a haven for the gathering of the unhealthy. Given the extent of the health crisis in black America, every religious institution in our community should have some type of health awareness ministry (as well as grief recovery and mentoring). Become the point person for organizing it!

Action Step#4

Challenge Your Social Circle to Shape Up

In this age of political correctness, we seem to have adopted an ‘it’s none of my business’ attitude about the health and wellness of people we supposedly love and care about. Many of our friends and loved ones are wasting away before our very eyes due to poor health habits and unwise nutrition choices. Most of our friends are dangerously overweight and perilously obese. Sometimes all a person needs is to see that someone actually cares.

Action Step#5

Become More Concerned about Who’s Contributing to the Health of the Community

Community advocacy in the black community is at all-time high. Consider forming a community action group in your neighborhood to act as a watchdog for the business practices of the grocery stores and other health-care conglomerates in the community. Take the lead in demanding grocery chains commit to fresh foods in our neighborhoods. Advocate for fair pricing and the end of over-priced, unhealthy products. Work within the community to organize and setup fresh-fruit gardens.

If black America is to get healthy, it begins with you!

Download Watch Your Life: The Believer's Guide to Speaking, Thinking and Acting Confidently in a Belief-Challenged World on

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