Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Presenting Minority Health Disparities to white students

So I presented my research today in my Qualitative Research course on Health Disparities to a class that was predominantly white (there was 1 Taiwanese in the class). The focus of my research was on the interviews I conducted with 3 African American students, assessing their thoughts, feelings and perceptions about race and class based Health Disparities. My presentation was roughly 15 minutes long and when it over, I asked for questions. 

Well, I was responded with blank stares from the class, which didn't surprise me, because race and class in America are not one of the Hot Topics talked about by the general public, especially by white folk. On the other hand, my professor is very interested in the topic and she asked me a very interesting question that I had not thought about before. This is the question: 'Is it possible to talk about Health Disparities and wanting to improve the health status of minorities without victimizing them or raising stereotypes?' 

I think this is a great discussion topic. I do believe that there are strategies to minimize the effect of making minorities feel like the victim, but like I stated in class, minorities already feel like the victim. Furthermore, the media already does a good job at highlighting all them as the 'poor & unfortunate souls' when it comes to health. So what do you think? Is it possible to talk about Health Disparities without victimizing them or raising stereotypes? 

I would love to hear what you have to say on the topic?


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Did you take your (multi)vitamins today?

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recently reported that about half of U.S. adults take vitamin supplements. I guess the other half doesn't. 

What really struck me about this report is that it stated that most people who take supplements and multivitamins are educated, have good incomes and eat a balance diet, which means that they get all the nutrients they need from their diets. Essentially, they don't need to take a multivitamin or supplement tablets.

As a health graduate student, this information begs the questions as to whose not getting the necessary nutrients that they need? Who are the other half? Answer: The poor and low income. Well, why aren't they getting the nutrients that they need? and What factors are preventing them from getting enough vitamins and nutrients? Do they even perceive that they are not getting enough nutrients?

How can I (as a soon to be individual in the Health Promotion field), encourage low-income individuals to take multivitamins? or allow them to see that there is a benefit in consuming a balance diet to get the added nutrients they need or even taking a multivitamin if they perceive that they are not getting the nutrients from their diets? These are the questions that consume me.

What are your thoughts on the matter? (Don't be afraid to comment). The complete report from the CDC can be found here.

Be well,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama & Beyonce team up to fight childhood obesity

Research shows that well-known and admired individuals spread information very quickly. Mrs. Obama and Beyonce have the right idea when it comes to disseminating and adopting healthy behaviors. Beyonce is supporting the First Lady in her fight against childhood obesity with a rewritten version of her hit, "Get Me Bodied." Beyonce transformed this hit into the Let's Move! Flash Workout dance routine that children can enjoy. You can check out a preview of the video on youtube. The flash workout is sure to be fun and entertaining for all.

Nearly 1 in 3 children are either obese or overweight in the U.S. Even more surprising is that these numbers are higher in African American and Hispanic communities.

Launched by Mrs. Obama, Let's Move! campaign is dedicated to solving the challenges associated with childhood obesity within a generation. Let's Move! is focused on 4 key ideas:
  1. Making healthier food choices
  2. Improving healthier food choices
  3. Improving access & affordability of healthy foods in communities
  4. Improving physical education in schools
For more information on Mrs. Obama's  Let's Move! Campaign, click here

I can't wait for updates on this amazing partnership!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Artist of the Week: Junior Kelly

One of my favorite artist is none other than Junior Kelly. Mr. Kelly hails from Jamaica. I love his music, because he promotes social consciousness and social justice through his work. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet him at a concert two summers ago in Brooklyn, New York, where he helped to raise funds for a primary school in Jamaica. The concert was great and I had a blast. Here are two photos I took from the concert. I also have a 4 second video with him where he's writing me an autograph, but I could embed it here for whatever reason (argh).

If you love Reggae music as much as I do & you don't know who Mr. Kelly is you are missing out. For more information on the man, click here.


Friday, April 8, 2011

What are Health Disparities?

As I work to build a career in the Public Health field, my current research focuses on the complex issue of Health disparities. What are health disparities you might ask? Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.

Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater social and economic obstacles to health, based on their racial or ethnic group, Socioeconomic status, geographic location, gender and other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

It is a known fact that people of color tend to suffer poorer health and get poorer health than their white counterparts.  Health disparities are complex, as is the history of the U.S. Therefore, it is simply NOT just about what we do or do not personally. Health disparities takes into account, the neighborhoods in which we live, work and play. It is about the availability of healthy foods in one's neighborhood, the availability of parks, playgrounds, sidewalks etc.

The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, spends the most on health care; yet Americans do not live as long and healthy as people in other countries. Makes no sense right?! I firmly believe that racial and ethnic disparities are to blame for that among other things for the low rankings. If America takes care of people, I mean all of them as it should, then the health status of this country should improve (do doubt). According to the US Department of Health & Human Services & the Office of Minority Health:
  • American Indian/Alaska Native adults are 1.3 times as likely as White adults to have high blood pressure
  • Mexican American women are 1.2 times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have high blood pressure.
  • From 2005-2008, African American women were 60% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women. 
  • In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians are more than 5.7 times as likely as Whites living in Hawaii to die from diabetes
 Any thoughts on how these racial health disparities can be eliminated? As early as today, the U.S. government recently announced a plan to reduce health disparities, which they have outlined here.

Any thoughts?


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Achieving healthy behaviors: A few tips

 National Public Health Week: April 4-10

Well what is Public Health you might ask? Public Health is improving and protecting the health of communities and individuals through education, research and the promotion of healthy lifestyles ( Public Health transcends your community and affects everyone, regardless of geographic location.

Health Promotion is the process of helping people change their lifestyles toward a state of optimal health. Health promotion is also about empowering individuals to have control over their own health.

Are you ready to change an undesired health behavior for a more desired health behavior. Here are a few tips & questions you should ask yourself before you begin eliminating or changing an undesired health behavior for a healthier option.

  1.  Set goals. Make sure that you write them down, acting as a form of visual reminder for me. Make sure that these goals are specific and clear.
  2. Are there any perceived barriers that you foresee to achieving your goal?
  3. Are you confident that you are able to achieve your health goals? Is your self-efficacy high or is it low?
  4. What are your attitudes & beliefs to changing a health behavior for a more desired one?
Answering all this questions will lead to a certain outcome. You may or may not be ready to change a health behavior. Therefore, assess your readiness to change your specific health behavior. Knowing how ready you are to engage in changing a behavior will be very important on your journey to achieving a happy & healthy lifestyle.

Be healthy,

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come - Dalai Lama
 Felt inspired, so I took a few self-portraits using my webcam

I love this hairstyle