Getting Healthy inside out: Physical fitness and nutrition
By Marcos Restrepo
We have a problem! It is not a secret that many Black and Latino communities are known to have the worst health outcomes in many counties and cities across the United States.
Broward County residents also face health disparities. Some disparities such as not having access to quality health care are complicated and not an easy to fix. Other disparities we can tackle as individuals and communities. Residents must lead the way in the fight for health equity across our County.
With that in mind Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County (HMHB) through the Closing the Gap Program sponsor, has been promoting healthy eating and “Sister Stroll” or walking groups because they are an easy way to get people active. According to the American Heart Association, walking at least twice a week can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and make your heart stronger. These are only a few of the many advantages you get from walking. Walking is free; you only need a good pair of sneakers and a bottle of water; you can keep your own company or invite others along. People are often surprised that they can walk a mile in twenty minutes or less. What we don’t know can hurt us.
We need residents to help create and lead walking groups and participate in nutrition workshops in Broward County. HMHB staff leads walking groups at several parks including Roosevelt Gardens Park, Joseph C. Carter Park (aka Sunland Park) and Rev. Samuel Delevoe Park, as well as parks in the city of Hollywood. Residents of all ages have the opportunity to meet and learn about healthier lifestyles and have fun while doing it.
At the American Public Health Association Conference held in Denver in November 2016, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher noted that we need to deal with our internal issues of equity, adding that “as long as we have such disparities we cannot be the healthiest nation in the world.”
Lack of education, low in-come and limited access to quality health care impact our health. Inequity leaves many communities burdened with preventable chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. HMHB and other organizations are working to improve health outcomes with health education programs, but those efforts need to multiply to reach more people.
Nutrition education sessions are a great way to reduce health disparities. We can prevent or control diabetes, reduce the risks of heart attacks through small changes to food intake such as reducing the amount of fat, sugar and starch.
HMHB staff has been working with other local not for profit organizations to offer Broward residents physical fitness and nutrition workshops at no cost. Women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, grand-parents, dads and others are invited to take action and contact HMHB at (954)765-0550 or visit our website at www.hmhbbroward.org to learn more about our walking groups and nutrition activities.
Let’s work together to “be the healthiest nation in the world.”
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1987 dedicated to reducing infant deaths by strengthening families through a comprehensive approach to prenatal care, parenting, education and support services.