Convenience May Be Easy, But Is It Healthy?

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Modern technology has made the lives of African–Americans easier on many levels. We don’t struggle the way our ancestors did to obtain food, water, shelter, warmth or knowledge. These advances benefit humankind in important ways, but there may be a fly in the ointment. Easy access to survival needs and convenient living have made many of us a little lazy and more than a little reluctant to accept personal responsibility for our own well being. Could it be that we’ve gotten so used to things coming to us with ease that we have forgotten that all good and lasting things come with struggle?

Struggle, patience, self–discipline and personal responsibility have been virtues in the Black community since we arrived on these shores. These same virtues are essential for our good health. Without them we become prey to the perils of "conveniences" that can kill us. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Instead of shopping for healthy, fresh foods we can prepare at home, many of us exist on a diet of "convenient" fast foods. Instead of eagerly seeking opportunities to give our bodies the exercise we need to stay fit and trim, for "convenience," we drive short distances and take elevators to avoid climbing stairs. Instead of including regular health screenings into our planning each year, we conveniently forget to schedule an appointment and let months, sometimes years go by without seeing a doctor.

Opting for convenience over struggle while engaged in nothing more than wishful thinking, is an avoidance behavior that has serious negative implications for African–American adults and the example we set for our children. Simply hoping that adequate nutrition will be derived from the careless food selections we make will guarantee a poor diet. Simply wishing away unwanted pounds without regular exercise will guarantee a stiff and unfit body. Hoping we’ll stay healthy without regular screenings like mammograms, heart and blood pressure checks, diabetes and cancer evaluations, almost ensures that we’ll become ill from a condition that could have been arrested by early detection.

Wishful thinking and searching for the convenient way out cannot put us on the road to good health. Taking personal responsibility for our own wellness plan can. The road for Black people has always been uphill and the climb toward good health is full of distractions and temptations. But it can become an exciting and rewarding journey with commitment and perseverance. We must plan to succeed by not leaving good health to chance. We must prepare for struggle because good dietary habits and regular exercise are not easy. There will be times when we’ll fail and fall short of our own expectations. But picking ourselves up and walking the hard road again is worth all the rewards that will surely come with a fit body and a healthy outlook that we’ve earned through hard work.

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