• Denine Rogers

National Minority Health Month 2019

National Minority Health Month begins in April, and the US Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Minority Health is raising awareness about the important role an active lifestyle plays in keeping us healthy. This year theme is Active & Healthy, which highlights the health benefits from even small amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity throughout the day. Every move counts therefore 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. Unfortunately, too few Americans get the recommended amount of physical activity. Only 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. These numbers are even lower among adults in some racial and ethnic minority populations.

Why are so few racial and ethnic minorities including physical activity as a part of their lifestyle plan? In a research study that was conducted, listed the barriers of physical activity.

  • Lack of time, knowledge, and motivation;

  • Physical appearance concerns (examples: hair, body weight, clothing);

  • Health concerns;

  • Monetary cost of exercise facilities

  • Tiredness/fatigue

  • Lack of family/caregiving responsibilities;

  • Lack of social support;

  • Lack of a Physical Activity partner;

  • Safety concerns while exercising;

  • Lack of workout facilities;

  • Weather concerns;

  • Lack of sidewalks;

  • Lack of physically active racial and ethnic minority diverse role models

What are the physical activities guidelines? The guidelines recommend that adults each week get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as a brisk walk that makes your heart beat faster. You could get this amount many different ways including a 22-minute walk each day or a 30-minute walk five days a week. Preschool-aged children should do physical activity every day throughout the day for healthy growth and development. Children and adolescents starting at age 6 should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity daily. (CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) and Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO)

How can racial and ethnic minority communities help people to stay active? The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program is one of the only CDC programs that focuses on reducing chronic disease for specific racial and ethnic groups in urban, rural, and tribal communities with high disease burden across the United States. Since 1999, REACH has demonstrated that locally based and culturally tailored efforts can be effective in closing health gaps. Click here for examples of how REACH program has made a impact with racial and ethnic minorities communities to become more active. Also, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) External along with CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) and Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO) invite you to advance health equity by sharing why physical activity matters and the benefits of physical activity by clicking here.

After reading this article, what are your plans to start including exercise as a routine? It does not take that much work to do this, but it only takes one effort to start.

What types of exercises that you are going to start doing today?

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