11 February 2013
Health First! The Black Woman's Wellness Guide (SmileyBooks, February 2012, ISBN: 978-1401936952, $27.95, Paperback) provides today's Black woman with a comprehensive guide to her #1 resource: herself. Grounded in vital research, the book focuses on prevention and awareness across generations and circumstances - from candid conversations about reproductive health and HIV/AIDS to frank explorations of Black women's top 10 health risks including heart disease, cancer, obesity, depression and violence.
"This is quite an honor to have received an Image Award," Imperative President and CEO Eleanor Hinton Hoytt said. "The board of directors, staff and I are extremely excited that the Imperative is being recognized by the NAACP and its members. We hope this groundbreaking work will challenge all Black women to put our health first and create a living legacy of wellness for generations to come."
The NAACP Image Awards is the premier multicultural awards show that celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.
For more information, visit www.blackwomenshealthfirst.com.
BET.com caught up with Hilary Beard, the book's co-author, to talk about the book's goals, why younger women need to be engaged in making lifestyle changes and why we all need to make our health come first in our lives.
BET.com: Why is this book about Black women's health so important?
Hilary Beard: While it’s the age of Michelle Obama, Oprah and the Internet, a lot of Black women are suffering and are in trouble, especially around their health. Culturally, we have this tradition of taking care of other people, instead of helping ourselves, so this is why we named the book Health First, to help
Black women understand that their own health matters too.
Many single Black mothers cannot afford to be sick, they cannot afford for their children to be sick and they cannot afford to take a day off of work to go to the doctor.
We hope that this book will spark a dialogue that if we take our health first, we are in better shape to take care of all the people we love and who love us.
Why should teens and younger Black women begin thinking about their health in their teens and 20s, as opposed to waiting until they are older?Health is a process, not an event. So the choices that you make as a teenager, 20s, 30s, have consequences and can play out later on, or sooner than you would think. Just look at weight. Our teenage girls are more likely to enter their teenage years heavier than other folks and that increases over time. In their 20s they go from being curvaceous to their 30s to having children or they are not as active as they were before, and so they start gaining weight and cannot control it.
And honestly, we don't even realize that we are making some of these choices that are detrimental to our health, because we see other people around us doing the same thing, and we think that's just the way it is. But now we are seeing diseases such as diabetes and strokes that people in their 20s are suffering from, not just people in their 40s and 50s.
Health First walks us through the many different stages of life from adolescence to being a senior. Why was that an important aspect to include?This is the first Black women's health book to do that and it came from a place of wanting for the readers to see where you are now, and then look at the choices that you might want to make moving forward. And it's never too late to change — even small changes over time can make a difference in the quality of life.
There is so much talk in the news that we as Black people have such bad health. From HIV/AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity, it seems like we are losing. Why is it important to emphasize on beating the odds?Because the reality is that many of us are experiencing health challenges now, [but] by making lifestyle changes, people are overcoming the odds. People heal themselves all the time, or positively change the course of their disease.
Take pre-hypertension and pre-diabetes. It takes 10 years for either one to develop, and so during that time we have so many choices. We wanted to provide personal stories with people who have overcome their illness and stories of people who are living successfully with a range of diseases. These women serve as role models. •
About the Authors:A tireless advocate for eliminating health disparities among women and communities of color, Eleanor Hinton Hoytt serves as the president and CEO of the Black Women's Health Imperative. Hinton Hoytt produced the groundbreaking book Tomorrow Begins Today: African American Women As We Age for the National Council of Negro Women. She is the proud recipient of the NAACP's Thurgood Marshall Legacy Award, and the Keystone Award for Women's Research Advocacy from the NIH Office on Women's Research.
An award-winning health journalist specializing in health, healthy lifestyle, and personal development, Hilary Beard is the New York Times best-selling author of Friends: A Love Story and Venus and Serena: Serving from the Hip. She has been editor-in-chief of Black AIDS Weekly, Real Health, HealthQuest and the National Medical Association's Healthy Living magazine.
About the Black Women's Imperative:The Black Women's Health Imperative is the leading organization advancing health equity and social justice our nation's 20 million Black women across the lifespan through advocacy, education, research and leadership development. For more information visit www.blackwomenshealth.org.
First Black Nurse In Army Nurse Corps Honored
Tuskegee, Ala. – Army ROTC and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health helped to celebrate the achievements of one of black American history’s pioneering professionals, Della H. Rainey, Feb. 1 in Basil O’Connor Hall. During WWII, Rainey became the first black nurse commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States’ Army Nurse Corps and the first nurse to become part of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Lt. Col. Patricia A. Coburn, deputy chief nurse for U. S. Army Cadet Command, served as the guest speaker for the event. After a presentation, a cake was cut to honor the birthday of the U.S. Army Nurses Corps. Feb. 2 marked 112 years that this service branch has been in existence. •Caption: A cake was cut at Tuskegee University in honor of the U.S. Army Nurses Corps' 112th birthday.
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