Health fair focuses on improving physical lifestyle
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
For three hours last Saturday, a group of men – and some women – were schooled on how to keep their bodies healthy.
Physical fitness trainers, doctors and vendors showed up at the Student Recreation Center on FAMU’s campus to promote a healthy lifestyle. The event put on by Chi Beta Sigma Fraternity in conjunction with the National Action Network was aimed at Black men.
Using the analogy of caring for an automobile, Henry Lewis, CEO of Red Hills Research Institute, made a case for men to improve the way they take care of their health.
“If you took your car in (to a mechanic) more than you went to the doctor, there is a problem with that,” Lewis said. “If you’re taking better care of your car than you take care of your body, then that’s part of the problem why we see what we call health disparities that African American men in particular have.”
Lewis also cited that research have shown that Black men are among those who suffer the most with HIV, heart disease, diabetes and even homicide.
“We’ve got to be able to address those problems,” he said.
Organizers had plenty of information and displays on living a healthy lifestyle. During the three hours that the event lasted, those who showed up had an opportunity to work with some of Tallahassee’s top fitness trainers.
Eddie Williams, president of Chi Beta Sigma Fraternity, said he also invited an insurance company that was there to present information on how a piece of mind plays into being healthy.
“It’s not just your physical wealth but your financial wealth as well so we wanted that aspect here as well,” he said.
Dr. Esaias Lee, a family medicine practitioner, had plenty of health tips to share, as did representatives from Bond Community Health Center.
Lee spent time one-on-one discussing common health issues such as cancer, diabetes and prostate cancer. He also took time to inform a few of the men about obstructive sleep apnea, a disease that causes breathing problems during sleep.
The disease is one that is often overlooked, Lee said.
“Sometimes you can have problems in the back of your throat where the tonsils aren’t letting you get enough air,” Lee said. “People go along like that; snoring and not make a big thing about it but after a time you start getting fatigued and sleepy for no apparent reason. Even if you’re not a big person you can still get obstructive sleep apnea.”
More than once experts at the health fair mention ego as one of the reasons that Black men tend not to practice better health. The problem isn’t just not going to the doctor, but also not being on a physical fitness routine, said Kevin Frazier, who owner of Tallahassee Trainers.
Too many men, Frazier said, believe in the misconception that they don’t need physical activities, especially if they were athletes in their young age.
“Some of us are like, ‘oh I used to do this and used to do that but are still sitting down on the couch and still eating what you want instead of taking our health seriously,” Frazier said. “Now it’s our job to help educate the young men to focus on their health.”
Oneil Brown, a nutrition advocate and fitness trainer, made a point of saying that diet is often left out of the discussion about being healthy. A proper diet could eliminate a lot of the health issues, he said.
“Nutrition plays a key role in everybody’s life,” Brown said. “Not just men, but everybody from mother, father to grandmother. If we are not putting the right things inside of our body our health will decline.”