Originally Published: February 16, 2022
Take Charge Of Your Health Today. Be Informed. Be Involved. | New Pittsburgh Courier

Why is promoting healthy aging so important for our Black/African American elders?  

Promoting healthy aging is important because we want Black people to age gracefully and live their best lives in retirement.  The reality is when you are not healthy your quality of life is compromised, and your lifespan is at risk of being shortened.  Unfortunately, Blacks and other marginalized communities face more health issues resulting from lack of exercise and lack of access to healthy foods. As a result, obesity is a major issue for many Americans, but it is worse for Black Americans due to poor diet choices and high caloric intake. This underscores the importance for better access to good foods and for people to make better diet choices when there are options.

Community health workers help to build trust and make achieving these changes in our lifestyle doable. What ideas do we have for increasing this kind of intervention in our Black/African American communities?  

Education and access are critical. We need to increase engagement with Black communities through increased partnerships with barbershops, hair salons, churches, senior programs, individual families, and anywhere that Black people live, work and play. We need to stress the importance of healthy eating and the importance of staying mobile through walking and other exercise. I recommend that we find innovative and ongoing ways to better educate people about exactly what is healthy eating as people have different interpretations of what healthy eating is.

How can we further disseminate this information about how to achieve healthy aging?    

We should leverage media like television, internet and others. It’s critical to start educating younger children who will one day become the older generation. This will position Black people and other marginalized communities to have the information necessary to make better choices. It is also important for Blacks to have access to healthy foods in their communities. This will further empower them to be able to make good choices in their day-to-day lives.