An estimated two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight, but African-American women face a particularly daunting set of health challenges. According to information provided in Dr. Ro's Ten Secrets to Livin' Healthy
, 50 percent of African-American women between the ages of 20 and 44 are overweight. Nearly one-third of all black women suffer from high blood pressure, and one in four African-American women age 55 and older has diabetes.
Bob talks to the author of the book, renowned African-American nutritionist Dr. Rovenia Brock, who says she is looking to turn some of those negative statistics around. "Dr. Ro" shares eight of the book's 10 secrets, which she says can lead to powerful changes in overall health and well-being.
- To change your life you must first change your mind. Dr. Ro encourages people to think differently about everything from food portions and preparation to physical activity. "That really is about making the attitude change necessary in order to make a permanent lifestyle change," Dr. Ro says.
- Your "sista-body" is something special: Get it moving! Dr. Ro says this secret is about appreciating that African-American women have certain biological and genetic differences in their bodies that can make permanent weight loss tricky. However, she says those differences can be overcome with the proper diet and lots of physical activity.
- Food can save your life. Chemical compounds such as antioxidants and phytochemicals that are found in foods, particularly in colorful fruits and vegetables, can go a long way to protect us from chronic disease, Dr. Ro says.
- Soul food is good for you. Many staple ingredients of soul food are really quite healthful, Dr. Ro says, but it's all in the preparation. For example, collard greens and sweet potatoes are good for you—just prepare them without adding fat and sugar.
- Know the truth about popular weight loss diets and weight loss programs. Dr. Ro says there are a lot of common health myths out there that can sabotage one's diet, so be wary of fad diets, pills or gadgets that make false promises.
- Eating out will jam you. Whether you're dining at a sit-down or fast-food restaurant, Dr. Ro says to be careful and make smart choices, or the mammoth size portions will do you in.
- Heart disease begins at age 6. Dr. Ro says parents need to know that the earlier you instill healthy lifestyle habits in your children, the better.
- Be smart about supplements. Dr. Ro says it's a good insurance policy to take a multivitamin every day. "Having said that, a multi-vitamin on top of a bad diet is not going to help you at all," she says.