Anybody who watched "Sanford and Son" in syndication remembers comedian Redd Foxx holding his heart and yelling, "This is the big one. I'm coming to join you, Elizabeth." And while it seemed logical that Foxx's character Fred Sanford was the one holding his heart, should more people have paid attention to his son Lamont?
According to the American Heart Association, non-Hispanic African Americans who are ages 20 and older, 44.4 percent of men and 48.9 percent of women have cardiovascular diseases (CVD). And in the most recent results from 2010, African American men were more likely to die from CVD than women with a ratio of 369.2 to 260.5.
And with less active adults, children may be less active, too.
Over the years, sedentary lifestyles have contributed to higher health risks. AHA reports that for children across the nation, 13.8 percent participate in less than one hour of weekly physical activity that could be categorized as moderate- or high-level exercise. Computers, television, cell phones, movies and video games contribute quite a bit of the reason for why kids are more likely to sit down while they "play" as opposed to going outside to participate in sports, go walking or running, or even jump rope.
Girls are more likely to be inactive than boys (17.7 percent to 10 percent), and the largest group of inactivity is within the African-American female community (26.7 percent) compared to Latino girls (21.3 percent), white girls (13.7 percent), black boys (12.3 percent), Latino boys (10.7 percent) and white boys (8.5 percent).
Children with diabetes are also more likely to be overweight and have a family history of being obese or overweight. The highest Type 2 diabetic children are Native American, African American, Asian and Latino.
African-American youth and young adults (ages 10 to 19) were more likely to have Type 2 diabetes with a rate of 57.8 percent compared to 46.1 percent of Latinos and 14.9 percent of whites. Weight mattered a significant amount of time with Type 2 diabetic young adults being 79.4 percent obese and 10.4 percent overweight.
In the Chicago area, one in four Chicago Public School (CPS) kindergartners, sixth graders and ninth graders are obese. (Click page 7 of this CPS report to see which neighborhoods rank the highest.)
So what are some ways to change the current health risks for both youth and adults?
- Join a Let's Move MeetUp event in Chicago.
- Register for the teen fitness summer program at Washington Park, located at 5531 S. King Dr.
- For those over age 18, join one of Chicago's three-month fitness center programs for $30 to $60.
- Sign up for the newsletter to find a Play Streets location in the Chicago area. Between 2012 and 2013, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association helped organize 47 Play Streets events in 10 cities across the United States, including the Chicagoland area.
- Skip the sugary drinks this summer, and start drinking water. According to Let's Move, the average American now eats 15 more pounds of sugar a year than in 1970.
- Increase whole grain (six to eight servings per day); fruits and vegetables (four to five servings per day); and nuts, seeds and legumes (three to four servings per week) consumption.
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Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest Chicago vegetarian entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Vegetarian channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Diet & Exercise" and "Vegetarian World" Pinterest boards.