In this essential wellness guide, a prominent physician looks at African American health in a groundbreaking way: from a cultural perspective According to the federal Office of Minority Health, African Americans "are affected by serious diseases and health conditions at far greater rates than other Americans." In fact, African Americans suffer an estimated 85,000 excess deaths every year from diseases we know how to prevent: heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes. In this important and accessible book, Dr. Michelle Gourdine provides African Americans with the knowledge and guidance they need to take charge of their well-being.
Reclaiming Our Health: A Guide to African American Wellness begins with an overview of the primary health concerns facing African Americans and explains who is at greatest risk of illness. Expanding on her career and life experiences as an African American physician, Dr. Gourdine presents key insights into the ways African American culture shapes health choices—how beliefs, traditions, and values can influence eating choices, exercise habits, and even the decision to seek medical attention. She translates extensive research into practical information and presents readers with concrete steps for achieving a healthier lifestyle, as well as strategies for navigating the health-care system.
This interactive guide with illustrations is a vital resource for every African American on how to live a healthier and more empowered life, and an indispensable handbook for health-care providers, policy makers, and others working to close the health gap among people of color. Says Gourdine, "I wrote this book to empower our community to solve our own health problems and to save our own lives."
About the Author
Michelle A. Gourdine, M.D., is CEO and principal consultant, Michelle Gourdine and Associates, a health policy consulting firm. She is the former deputy secretary of health and chief public health physician for the state of Maryland, and is currently clinical assistant professor in the departments of pediatrics and epidemiology/preventive medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and senior associate, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She lives in Owings Mills, MD.
Table of Contents
Part I An Unfinished Civil Rights Battle
1 Ail American Injustice: The State of African American Health 3
Part II Rewriting Our Health History: A New Vision of Better Health
2 Lose Weight and Win: Fighting Obesity 35
3 From Soul Food to Food for the Soul: The Keys to Eating Well 58
4 Make the Right Moves: How to Burn Fat and Be Fit 81
5 Detoxify Your Life: Managing the Three Ss (Stress, Sleep, and Smoking) 98
6 Change Your World: Righting the Wrongs of Social Inequity 114
Part III Navigating the Health Care System: What Every African American Must Do Now
7 Know Your Family History 131
8 Understand Your Health Insurance 138
9 Choose the Right Doctor 150
10 Schedule a Physical Exam 155
Frequently Asked Questions 167