by Dr. Janet Seabrook
Did you know that April is National Minority Health Month? Yes, it’s a thing!
Back in April 1915, Dr. Booker T. Washington began advocating for “National Negro Health Week.” He reached out to local health departments, schools, churches, organizations, government entities and businesses in search of support for this initiative to create a National Health Movement. His efforts grew into what we now celebrate for an entire month.
Each year, the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) develops a theme for Minority Health Month. This year, it is “Active & Healthy,” which will allow OMH and minority health advocates throughout the nation to highlight the health benefits of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity into our daily lives. This topic is near and dear to me, as I am always encouraging my patients and social followers to incorporate some form of exercise and healthy eating into their lifestyles.
Now that we all know what the focus is for April, here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate Minority Health Month:
Identify a health accountability partner. Accomplishing any goal is always easier when there is someone holding you accountable. Identify a friend, family member or significant other who will hold you accountable in your healthy lifestyle goals this month. Whether it’s a morning jog or sticking to a healthy menu, enlist the help of someone you trust to ensure that you stay on track.
Make an appointment with your physician. If you haven’t seen your general practice physician this year, this month would be a great time to make an appointment. There doesn’t have to be anything going on for you to see your doctor. Get a physical and maybe a few general screenings for starters. It never hurts to stay ahead of the game when it comes to your health.
Try a few healthy recipes. Since the theme for National Minority Health Month is “Active & Healthy,” why not add a few healthy dishes to the menu?
Get a gym membership. The time has passed for New Year’s resolutions, so April is another good starting point to commit to a regular exercise routine. There is something about a gym membership that can bring about greater commitment, especially since there is a price tag attached. Gyms also offer classes, equipment and exercise programs that provide more consistency in your workout. Keep in mind that physical activity promotes health and reduces the risk of chronic diseases and other conditions that are more common or severe among racial and ethnic minority groups.
I’ve only listed a few, but there are plenty more activities that you can participate in to celebrate National Minority Health Month. A quick Google search should yield a comprehensive list of events taking place in your area, or better yet, create an event and invite your family and friends who want to celebrate healthy living too! Happy National Minority Health Month!
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This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader.