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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Minority Health Month

Contact the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity


“LIVING A HEALTHY ACTIVE LIFESTYLE MAKES A HEALTHY YOU”

April is National Minority Health Month, and the National Office of Minority Health theme is “Active & Healthy.”  This year, the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) will join our partners across the state to raise awareness about the important role an active lifestyle plays in keeping us healthy. The 2019 OMHHE statewide theme is “Living a Healthy Active Lifestyle Makes a Healthy You”, which will encourage health advocates across the state to emphasize the health benefits of incorporating even small amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity into their schedules. Physical activity promotes health and reduces the risk of chronic diseases and other conditions that are more common or severe among racial and ethnic minority groups.

National Minority Health Month began over 100 years ago as a National Negro Health Week.  In April 1915, Dr. Booker T. Washington dispatched a letter to the leading African American newspapers, proposing the observance of “National Negro Health Week. Health was the key to progress and equity in all other things, he argued: “Without health and long life, all else fails.” He called on local health departments, schools, churches, businesses, professional associations, and the most influential organizations in the African-American community to “pull together” and “unite…in one great National Health Movement.”  That observance grew into what is today a month-long initiative to advance health equity across the country, on behalf of all racial and ethnic minorities-National Minority Health Month.

A better lifestyle for minorities started with a movement and incorporating a little movement can be the first step to a better you. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination or moderate and vigorous activity. Examples of these activities range from walking, jogging, biking, to strength training, flexibility/stretching, and sports.

However, if you haven’t been active in several years take it slow. According to Harvard School of Public Health, your goal should be 30 minutes of physical activity a day. So, three 10-minute sessions are just as effective as one longer session. 

Along with exercise it is important that you invest in your health through your diet as well. Eating smart may improve your health and your waistline. You can also improve your eating habits by adjusting portion sizes and still enjoy delicious foods and an occasional treat. When preparing your meals or eating out make sure that you incorporate more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits comes with a host of benefits. Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables enhances your diet with potassium which helps maintain healthy blood pressure, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and so many countless benefits. All these benefits may lower blood pressure, reduce risk for heart disease, reduce the risk of obesity and so much more. The perfect combination to exercise is a diet that promotes a healthier lifestyle. 

Remember to check with you doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns.

This is a compassionate call to action, and an opportunity to unite and work together towards the common goal of improving the health of all people within our communities.

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