Black Health Matters

I read on the Huffington Post earlier this week that they were launching a “Black Health Matters” piece and was excited. Because as we all know…I’m black and I do care about my health as well as the health of everyone. Nope, I’m not a skinny mini, but a curvy girl who exercises and tries to eat right. The purpose of the Black Health Matters…

Black Health Matters seeks to raise awareness around the health gap and spotlight efforts to make the medical field more inclusive. We hope, through our reporting, to inspire efforts to engage communities in practicing healthy habits and empower people to make wellness a priority. – Meredith Melnick and Lilly Workneh

 

I’m excited. I mean it’s time that we start taking the health issue seriously. I want to be alive for my son and my son’s health is of the utmost important to me. I want him to be healthy which is why I took it hard when I read that black children are more likely to be obese Β than white children. Ugh, can I please not have to hear this right after realizing that my baby is packing on the pounds? I mean more bad news.

The article “The Quality of Healthcare You Receive Likely Depends on Your Skin Color” shed some lights on some things I know but definitely revealed some things that I didn’t know. Like the obesity rate. See the chart below.

Black Children Are More Likely To Be Obese

 

The research: Compared to white children, black children and adolescents are more likely to suffer from obesity, defined as having body-mass indices greater than 30. This is especially troubling because of the myriad long-term health problems associated with obesity, including coronary heart disease, high-blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Here are some things that the article talked about:

  • Black children are less likely to be breastfed than white children. Β 
    • I’ve heard this before. I’ve even experienced in my family. Whereby some of my cousins who have children don’t breast feed. Their reason “It hurts”. Now, you know that had me all up in arms. I’m like really? Breast is best and you should try. It is definitely healthier than formula. We need to support more breastfed babies in the black community. I’m not mad that former mayor, Michael Bloomberg wanted to encourage more women to breast feed instead of formula feed.

black-women-world-breastfeeding-week1

  • Lack of access to health foods in low income areas
    • This is true and not just in major cities but in rural areas as well. I am from a small town in Tennessee and there are no farmer’s markets or Mom’s popping up. Sometimes you will find a farmer selling some seasonal items, but they are few and far between. I think I saw one the entire time I was home in May. We need to push fresh and healthier options not just in the inner city but in rural areas as well. I actually will buy my vegetables fresh and then steam them. My son loves broccoli and has only eaten it with salt and pepper. He doesn’t know about cheese on broccoli or cabbage with meat. He eats steamed cabbage with peppers and onions.

black-boy-eating-salad

  • Lack of physical activity
    • Yep, we don’t work out. I’m truly guilty of it. Yes, I hate the treadmill. Yes, I hate working out. Yes, I try to park as close as possible to the door of any building. Yes, I hate sweating out my hair. Are these excuses? Yes. I own them. However, we have got to do better with our own health and the health of our children. That’s why I incorporated bike riding into my weekly munch time. Research says that children are supposed to get 60 minutes of exercise daily. What? How is that possible? I mean I get off work at 5 pm, fight traffic and pick up munch by 6 pm. Go home, prepare dinner to have food on the table no later than 7:15. It takes him 45 minutes to eat and now we are at 8 pm. If school’s in session it is homework, bath and story time. How can I give him that? Now that it is summer, he goes to bed at 9 pm which gives me a little bit of time, but it is still not enough time. I can’t mess up his sleep pattern.

child-exercising

  • Lack of education about nutrition
    • I agree with this. We have to be educated about making healthier choices. About 7 years ago when I went home to visit my family in Tennessee I was appalled that some of my younger cousins were giving their children sodas in a bottle. What? My sister and I almost died of shock and were trying to say, “No, only water or milk in a bottle.” Why? Because we had researched and worked with our children’s doctors about what goes in a child’s bottle. But, we were shunned because we “thought we knew it all”. Nope, we don’t. We just don’t want your children to grow up unhealthy.

african mother and her son in doctor's office

Knowledge is truly key when it comes to thinking about the health of children in this country. When it comes to making sure that we as parents and black parents in particular are not killing our children. We need to educate ourselves and stay informed about what is in the best interest of our children. Food is no longer coming from the farm to the table. We need to make sure that we are giving our black babies the best possible life and not leading them to the diabetic door with the cholesterol window open and the obese curtains blowing in their face.

Until next time!

 

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6 thoughts on “Black Health Matters

  1. Hi Tikeetha,

    Thank you for writing about this important topic. My two cents: Doctors/Hospitals are in the business of treating illness/disease. No illness/disease, no appointments, no revenue. Personally, I go to a naturopath (ND) which specializes in keeping you HEALTHY and out of the doctor’s office. They focus on preventative measures, although they certainly treat illnesses and disease. I make sure to do my homework before and after visiting my doctor (even though I like her.) I can’t afford numerous visits (I have a financial incentive to be healthy) and I want to make sure I know all my options and am making the best choice regarding my health. Doctors can support and offer advice (to quote Ronald Reagan, trust but verify) but it is up to YOU to take action.

    I’m glad that you are talking about breastfeeding. The rates of breastfed babies in the US are abysmal and it has to do with formula being a business. I recently watched the documentary “Milky Way.” It shows how formula companies are in business partnerships with hospitals. Hospitals give gift bags of formula while lactation consultants are often unavailable evenings or weekends (as if babies don’t get hungry evenings or weekends.) This is a real mix-up of priorities, in my opinion. It profiles women bending over backwards to get support on how to breastfeed, and, can you believe it, they have to go OUTSIDE the hospital.

    I think we really need to be responsible for our own health, do our research, and seek appropriate resources, because the medical system in the US, despite being the costliest, isn’t correlating with better health. I’m not saying there aren’t good medical professionals out there, but I am saying we need to take responsibility for our own health (we wag our own tail, so to speak, instead of the tail wagging us).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. It’s true, but there are many of us who are lack the education to care for our own bodies. Can we hold people responsible if we don’t educate them on self-care? I guess it is a question of where we fall in the midst of things. I’m a firm believer in breastfeeding and educating people. Doctors don’t know everything, so I try to read as much as possible and find a healthy medium that doesn’t involve medications.

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      1. Hi Tikeetha,

        I couldn’t resist a reply to “Can we hold people responsible if we don’t educate them on self-care?” That’s worthy of a national conversation!

        In my mind, it depends if people are withheld information or not. In this day and age, I don’t think we are. I don’t watch TV that much anymore, but when I did there were several shows on weight loss and maintaining health (the Biggest Loser and Dr. Oz come to mind). News programs used to be awash with health-related topics. There is also this thing called the internet. Information is literally at your fingertips, if people are interested. I’m interested, but I can’t apply myself to other people’s situations. Maybe there are other barriers?

        I’m not from a small town, so I don’t know how people’s lives are there. I’ve heard that it can be difficult, but I honestly don’t know what that means. Perhaps that’s a topic for your blog, since you’re familiar with both sides.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so about holding people responsible who may have access to information. In rural areas, the elderly most likely don’t use the internet. They only know what their doctor’s tell them. Some feel that they are too old to change. You run into people that think that they know stuff, but are constantly putting their own health or the health of their children in danger. When I lived in NYC I read about the story of a young boy who died because he had a tooth ache. The tooth had become infected and his mother didn’t have dental insurance. It became painful, infection sat in and then it permeated to his bloodstream. He died of an infection. By educating people on free programs or things that they may not know is making sure we can hold people accountable. Great idea on maybe posting about the differences. Thanks lady!

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