Wednesday, May 16, 2012

PUT YOURSELF SECOND By Kara Davis, M.D.




Some sobering news was released last week.  According to the CDC, by 2030, 42% of Americans will be obese.  That’s significant enough, but what’s even more disturbing is this: currently 51% of African American women over age 40 are obese, and 88% of us are overweight.  So where will we find ourselves when 2030 rolls around?  In 18 years, will the statistics show that 60% of black women are obese and 95% of us are overweight?

As an internist, I treat women (and men) with conditions that are related to lifestyle.  The foods we eat (or fail to eat), physical activity and body weight all play a role in heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and even some forms of cancer.  Many times I find women who, for a variety of reasons, are not motivated to make lifestyle changes, even when their health is at stake.  So lately I’ve shifted gears with my approach.  In the past, I’ve told women never to forsake their own needs while they care for others, but now I’m encouraging them to put the needs of others first.  Maybe this approach might hold the key to success—instead of dropping a few pounds for yourself, do it for someone else.

Do it for your friends   Research has shown an interesting phenomenon when it comes to weight gain:  people are more likely to gain weight when their friends gain weight.  So if you can’t get motivated to eat right and move more for your own sake, then do it for the sake of your friends!

Do it for your children  Childhood obesity is an epidemic with dire consequences: we are leaving our kids an inheritance of illness.  But this doesn’t have to be.  The next time you can’t seem to compel yourself to exercise or cook a nutritious meal, then think about your children and do it for them!

Do it for your country Much of our healthcare dollars are spent on diseases that are potentially preventable through following a healthy lifestyle.  Regardless of your opinion about government and irrespective of your political party, we owe it to our country to do what we can to curtail this healthcare crisis.  So if you can’t seem to push the plate away for yourself, then do it for your country!
I’m interested in hearing what you think about this novel approach.  

Contact me through the BOSS Network, or at www.drkaradavis.com, www.facebook.com/DrKaraDavis or Twitter @DrKaraDavis.

4 comments:

  1. Its definitely important that women start to take care of themselves and for the right reasons. Being healthy shouldn't be chore but a daily commitment. Thank you for the reminder!

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  2. I am so glad to have this quarter focus on health and wellness. We need to inform more women of color on how to be healthy and happy.

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  3. Kara i'll share this link on http://www.hairtalkandmore.com. I'm discussing over the next few weeks how exercise & nutrition affect our hair & scalp. Thanks. Marshay

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