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"African-American Healthy" by Richard W. Walker, Jr., MD

Terri Schlichenmeyer | 6/29/2011, 11:54 a.m.
For many hours each week, you spend your time running to nowhere - or so...

For many hours each week, you spend your time running to nowhere - or so it seems.

As often as possible, you do your laps on a treadmill, run-run-running in place while the status of your health does the same: your blood pressure remains sky-high. You're still pre-diabetic. And your friends, surprisingly, are saying the same thing.

According to Richard W. Walker, Jr., MD, there's a reason for your health being the way it is. In his new book "African-American Healthy", he explains.

Having grown up in Spanish Harlem, Richard Walker remembers that health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and hypertension were "accepted by my community as part of the natural aging process."

You got old, you got sick, and that's the way it was.

Walker himself noted this health quirk but never thought much about it until he compared family histories with a friend who had Irish ancestors. Stunned to see everything so fully, he decided to investigate.

Throughout the years, he says, African Americans have consistently had higher rates of heart disease, stroke, cancer deaths, kidney disease, hypertension, and diabetes than have Caucasians. Part of the problem, he admits, is genetic; some of the problem is cultural; and the cost of health care can also be blamed.

The good news is that there are things you can do to get healthy, stay healthy, save money, and live longer.

First of all, says Walker, understand the aging process and learn how your body's cells are repaired. Multivitamins aren't just for children, and antioxidants definitely do help. Quit smoking, get out of your chair, and cut back on salt. Change your diet and "consider other supplements" and extracts to give your body what it's missing. Get enough sleep and learn to take a deep breath to eliminate stress.

Above all, take vitamin D3 to boost effectiveness of the measures you're taking to be healthier. Walker says that most African American bodies are deficient in that vitamin, and that D3 supplements can make a huge difference in your well-being.

Let's face it: nobody wants to die. You'd like to see your grandchildren grow up, and you'd like to be healthy while you're doing it. This book might help - with one great big caveat.

There's some solid advice in the pages of "African-American Healthy", and most of it is relatively easy to do. Author Richard W. Walker, Jr., MD says the things you've already heard (eat better, exercise, cut back on the bad stuff), then he tells you how and backs it up with reasons why, instead of merely preaching.

But this isn't the end of your health care search and there is one flaw to this book: the words "Talk to Your Doctor" were missing in a lot of spots where they perhaps needed to be. The words are here but, unfortunately, are sparse.

Still, "African-American Healthy" is a great starting point, and a good way to initiate a conversation with that doctor. If you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, this is a book to run to.