How long do you hope to live? It may sound like a silly question, but we have the power to add years to our lives, if we take better care of our bodies.
It is easier to say, than do.
The No. 1 killer of all Americans is heart disease. The statistics are more alarming for African-Americans. We are more likely to get heart disease and to die from it than whites. Why?
Research shows that we have higher rates of obesity and diabetes, which increases our risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, a ‘silent killer,’ that damages our heart. We often don’t feel it or know it until it is too late.
Do you have high blood pressure or diabetes or do you know someone who does? Other risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity or family history. I have some heart disease risk factors and so do some of the people in my family. So why is it so hard to change - to fight to live longer?
Many of us were conditioned, as children, to love more fattening foods. Past generations handed down some of these eating habits along with great, high calorie family recipes without the benefit of the health education resources we have today.
And in a more stressful, busy society, we grab fast food often as a quick way to feed ourselves and our children. Also, as women and mothers, we tend to take care of everyone else’s health but our own and, with work, cooking, cleaning, and parenting, there are no reserves left for our health.
However, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we may not be around to take care of those we love. I have struggled with weight issues most of my life, and as a news broadcaster, viewers have not hesitated to point that out!
As I near the age of 50 this month, and the last of my children heads off to college, I hope to reclaim my health. I’ve started working out again and I am already starting to feel better. I’ve made a vow to love myself better and model better habits to those I love, even if I am never skinny. I simply want to be healthier. Won’t you join me?
We can take small, steady steps to eat better and exercise. I also urge you to consider joining the Indianapolis Heart Walk, from the American Heart Association, on September 15. Walk as a first step toward reclaiming your health. WTHR is a longtime sponsor of the Walk.
Go to wthr.com’s Community page and click on the “Community Conversations” link to register. You’ll also find links to assess your heart disease risk and to learn how to prevent it.
Our heart is our engine. We can’t live without it. Let’s take better care of our heart.