March 24th, 2010 – Your Health Care

Yesterday was a historic day.  After 60 years of attempts, a few victories, lots of debates, and recent days of physical and verbal assaults, a national health care bill was passed.  No matter what side of the debate you find yourself, I think we can all agree on one point:  health care is important to all of us.

If you are expecting me to post any further comment about the bill, I’m afraid you will be disappointed.  I simply want to talk about where we are in terms of our health.

As stated in an earlier blog posting, March is National Nutrition Month, sponsored by the American Dietetic Association.  The goal is for us to make better food choices and form better eating and exercise habits.

What is that important? 

  • 1 in 3 adults has hypertension
  • Within the African-American community, those with the highest rates of hypertension, are more likely to be middle-aged or older, less educated, overweight or obese, physically inactive, and to have diabetes.
  • Speaking of diabetes, 22% of children under the age of 20, almost 12 % of non-Hispanic Blacks, and 10% of women over 20 have diabetes as of 2007.
  • As of 2008, women made up almost 50% of adults living with HIV worldwide.
  • As of 2009, Mississippi has the distinction for the highest rates of obesity for adults (32.5%) and children, aged 10-17 (44.4%)

What would happen if we each decided to make better choices in the foods we eat and exercised more?

  • We would live longer and feel better and healthier
  • Medical costs would go down
  • Insurance rates might decrease
  • The demand for healthy and organic foods would increase

If you have not done so already, start thinking about changes you can make in terms of your diet and exercise. 

  • Preparing your own meals and purchasing less of the prepackaged or take out meals.  This helps control salt and sugar intake.
  • Eating more fruit and vegetables. 
  • Walking up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. 
  • Visiting your doctor at least twice a year, especially as you get older.  And don’t forget to schedule teeth cleaning with your dentist, too.
  • Lifting weights as you watch TV.
  • Commit to walking or exercising with a friend for support and encouragement. 
  • Keep a food journal to monitor your intake.
  • Eat several small meals a day instead of three large meals to increase your metabolism.  And start with a good breakfast to fuel your body and jump-start your brain cells.

Be healthy, be well!

Links:

http://healthyamericans.org/

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=1200000

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm

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