This month at the Indiana Black Minority Health Expo, I delivered the keynote address before a group of people eager to learn more about the benefits of eating a nutritious diet and how it plays an important part in preventing and reversing many of the health problems that continue to plague our community.
The group was receptive to the information, as much as I was eager to present it to them via facts, figures and illustrations. During and after my keynote, I discovered that the inquisitive group needed information in its simplest form on how to improve their overall health and prevent the onset of such health problems as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
Here's what I told the group: One in three people is obese; 1,500 people die each day from cancer; and one in two African-American children will become diabetic. In this day and time, we're continuously bombarded with falsehoods. One such falsehood is food that's on the market and advertised daily as good for us. It's just the opposite, in my opinion. And with some certainty, I can say some of the food is life threatening.
Health care costs in the United States averaged about 2.6 trillion dollars in 2010. That's 10 times the cost of health care in 1980. In some cases, employers are dismissing individuals who are reportedly abusing the health care system. They say it is costing them more money to keep health insurance for their employees. It's a problem that affects tens of millions.
President Barack Obama's health care reform program is not a cure-all, but a step in the right direction. It insures that those who need health care the most are given a leg to stand on when health problems arise. The lack thereof only magnifies the problem for those who fail to maintain a good diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
If good health is the aim, there must be a lifestyle change. I've received countless emails and calls over the years from people who have tried to change their lifestyle to prevent or reverse their health problems. It's sad to say, but some of those emailers and callers admitted surrendering to family and friends who unthinkingly beguiled them into staying on the path to ill health.
Failure to take care of one's health leads unequivocally to ill health and eventually a catastrophic disease. With the cost of health care escalating and becoming a burden to those who suffer the most, it is no wonder that tens of millions have no other recourse but to succumb to ill health. That's why drug manufacturers are continually manufacturing new drugs to combat America's growing health problems.
Today, 61 percent of adults in the United States take at least one drug to treat a particular illness. And at least one out of four seniors take at least five medications daily. Why so many drugs? People are not eating healthy. They're missing those key ingredients for good health: fresh fruits and vegetables.
There is no joy in living on prescription drugs, I told the group at the Indiana Black Minority Black Health Expo. They understood what is needed if they want to rid their bodies of sickness and diseases: They must eat the right food, drink plenty of water and exercise. Stagnation is a killer.
What I shared with them, like eating healthy to reverse many of their health problems, was spot-on. I left them with choices and encouraged them to strengthen their resolve to do better. As I was speaking, I noticed a twinkle in the eyes of several people and a smile on their pensive faces. It as an indication, I surmised, that the group was ready to forge a new path to good health.