Posted April 1, 2008 – To feel your best, you need a good foundation. You’ve got to eating right, make time for physical activity and proper rest, and find ways to manage stress – those are the foundations of a healthy lifestyle that can reduce the risk for chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Over the years, the number of people affected by these chronic diseases has risen. The good news is that there are steps you can take to stay on track – or get back on track – with your health. First, let’s take a look at some of the shocking statistics.
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Know the Facts, Get the Stats
While every woman needs to stay on top of their health, statistics show that African American women need to be even more alert:
Fact: African American women are 35percent more likely than non-Hispanic white women to die from heart disease. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," it is the number one killer for African American women.
Fact: One out of every four African-American women over 55 years of age has diabetes. More African Americans die from diabetes than all other races/ethnicities in the United States.
Fact: Eight out of ten African-American women are overweight or obese. This is over 20percent higher than white women of the same age.
Fact: African Americans have higher blood pressure compared to other races and get it at a younger age. This means they are at higher risk for heart failure and stroke.
Small Steps Towards Health and Wellness
With the right tools and preparation, you have the power to take back the stats and take charge of your health. Small steps lead to big rewards. Here’s how:
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Perhaps the single-most important step to good health is maintaining a healthy weight. It’s not about being skinny – it’s about your health and how you feel. Even small amounts of weight loss can have a big impact on disease. If you are overweight, losing just 5percent to 10percent of your body weight (that’s 9 to 18 pounds, if you weigh 180 pounds now), may help lower your blood pressure, keep your blood-sugar levels in-check and reduce your risk of developing other health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
2. Choose healthy. From selection and planning, to purchasing and preparation, we make over 200 food decisions each day. Aim to make healthy food decisions whenever possible. Here are some tips:
3. Keep moving. Experts recommend 30 minutes of activity per day to improve health and 60 to 90 minutes to encourage and maintain weight loss. Make physical activity fun by including family or friends and choosing activities that you enjoy. Even simple activities like taking the stairs, playing with your child, parking further away, dancing, or five to ten minute walks add up throughout the day.
4. Get yearly check-ups. Check-ups tune you in to your body’s needs and can help prevent disease before it starts. Make sure to bring your family history to your doctor and ask important questions like, “What is my chance of getting diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease?”
5. Set goals and track your progress. Set goals for yourself each week. Write them down and keep track of your progress. For example, set a goal to walk 10 to 15 minutes every morning, 5 days a week. Every week that you achieve your goal, add more time to your routine. If you’re not meeting your goal, change it so it’s easier to achieve.
Call 1-866-3-LOSE-IT for your “Healthy BET” healthy living brochure or register today for the Women’s Health Symposium in Houston, TX, Little Rock, AR, Winston-Salem, NC or Savannah, GA.