Health Center

Male_body_infographics_elementspng (2) The Great African Misconception on Weight Gain

  1. Weight Gain is considered a sign of good health and wealth in Africa.
  2.  Weight Gain is a blessing from God.
  3.  When you have a large stature you are taken more seriously.
  4.  Ghanaians call “big” people “Tintin Gramo” or Okesea meaning big and tall or huge. Leaner people are called “lenge lenge” meaning skinny but this carries a stigmata of poor nutrition or poverty.
  5. Pot Bellies are called the “Sikafuo” meaning belly of wealth.

Interestingly all the above are wrong and contrary to the truth. Overweight and obesity are actually markers of poor health. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, cancers and strokes which happen to be the three leading causes of death among people of African origin. Finally obesity has been associated with increased in all causes of mortality. (see below) As your BMI (weight) increases, your chances of dying early increases. With this knowledge, it is inconceivable that God will “bless” anyone with obesity. He gives us just the right weight for our heights.

Lifestyle and Hypertension

smiling african nurse checking senior patient's blood pressureFact Sheet

  1. People of African Origin have the highest rate of Hypertension at 45%
  2. Normal blood pressure is

Less than 140/90 mmHg for people less than 60 years or with Diabetes regardless of age. Less than 150/90 mmHg for people older than 60 years (These are the new recommendation by the JNC 8)   Why is Hypertension Dangerous According to the CDC… “More than 348,000 American deaths in 2009 included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That is 1,000 deaths each day! High blood pressure increases your risk for dangerous health conditions:

  • First heart attack:About 7 of every 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure.
  • First stroke:About 8 of every 10 people having their first stroke have high blood pressure.2
  • Chronic (long lasting) heart failure:About 7 of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure”

Reference: Beating Hypertension With Lifestyle changes


Lifestyle and Diabetes


Nurse And A Diabetic Finger Stick
Burden of Diabetes

  • People of African Origin have the highest rates- Almost twice as much as Caucasians
  • 29 mil affected (9.3% of US population)
  • 8 mil are pre-diabetic
  • 90% of prediabetic patients are unaware of the condition
  • A major contributor to heart, kidney, and eye disease. Also contributes 60% of foot amputations. Highest rate in Blacks.

Risk Factors

Modifiable Non Modifiable
Obesity(Overweight/Obesity increases risk by 20-40 times) Age
Physical Activity Male
Lack of Fruits and Veggies Gestational Diabetes
Excess Sugar Intake Family History

Diabetes Can Prevented!

Study from New England Journal of Medicine

“Our results support the hypothesis that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in persons at high risk for the disease. The incidence of diabetes was reduced by 58 percent with the lifestyle intervention and by 31 percent with metformin, as compared with placebo. These effects were similar in men and women and in all racial and ethnic groups.”

Beating Diabetes with Lifestyle

Lifestyle Change Recommendation Results
Weight Loss Maintain Healthy Weight Losing 5-10% of body weight cuts risk by as high as 50%
Increase Fruit and Veggie Intake At least a total of 2-3 fruits/ 2-3 cup of Vegetables a day Cuts risk by 22%
Avoid Sugary drinks and High GI Foods Completely avoid sodas and juices.  Make own smoothies . Cut you risk by 20-30%
Increase Physical Activity At least 30 min of aerobic activity a day Cut Hg A1c by 10-20%
Manages Other Conditions Keep BP and Cholesterol Normal Decrease your overall risk of CVD

Complications of Diabetes and Blacks

  • Diabetes is 60% more common in black.
  • Blacks are up to 2.5 times more likely to suffer a limb amputation
  • Blacks with Diabetes are 5.6 times more likely to suffer kidney disease than other people with diabetes.
  • Diabetes is a major risk factor for Heart Diseases, eye disease, stroke, Alzheimers, and some cancers.

Glycemic Chart

Glycemic Index Overview

Glycemic Index for Common Foods

Lifestyle and High Cholesterol

Beating Cholesterol With Lifestyle ChangesCholesterol foods

Burden of High Cholesterol

  • 71 million American adults (33.5%)have high LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol.
  • Only 1 out of every 3adults with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control.
  • Less than halfof adults with high LDL cholesterol get treatment.1
  • Doubles Risk for Heart Disease
  • The highest risk factor even greater than the smoking or obesity


  • Genetic
  • Post menopausal
  • Weight
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Diet high in cholesterol
  • Poor fruit and veggie intake
  • Stress

Beating High Cholesterol With Lifestyle Changes

  • Loss Weight
  • Increase physical activity
  • Avoid Diet high in cholesterol
  • Increase fruit and veggie intake
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Stress

5 Foods with Highest Cholesterol
Remember You daily requirement is 300mg !

Rank # Food/Serving  Amount %DV
# 1 Beef Kidneys 609mg 203%
# 3 Fast Food (Bacon, egg and cheese) 358mg 118%
# 2 Liver (2 oz, 2 small pieces) 316mg, 106%
# 4 Red meat  (8 Oz, 1 pieces) 275mg 92%
# 5 Eggs 1 Large egg 275mg 92%

Taking Cholesterol Medications

  • Attempt lifestyle changes vigorously.
  • However, due to the strong genetic association if lifestyle fails to control levels please don’t hesitate to start meds.
  • Start with a class of drugs known as “Statin” (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, Pravastatin)
  • Watch for muscle pain. Doctor should run a liver test after 3 months.

Lifestyle and Heart Disease

According to the CDC…

  • Heart disease is the leading causeof in People of African origin. We also have the highest death rate from heart dises
  • About 600,000 Americansdie from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Each minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.


Causes of Heart Disease

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • High Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Poor Diet (Low fruits and Veggie, seeds, nuts, and legumes)
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol

Lifestyle and Cancers

Breasts self-examination. Anti-cancer concept. Isoalted on white

  • Facts

Black men have a 40% higher cancer death rate than white men. African-American women have a 20% higher cancer death rate than white women.

People of African Origin have the highest incidence and highest death rates for most cancers.

African Misconception on Cancers

  • Cancer cannot be prevented
  • Cancer is mainly in the family
  • Cancer is a curse from God
  • Cancer is a spell cast by the witches in Africa.
  • None of the above is accurate. The chart below shows that cancer is caused by environmental factors (Factors we can change) 95% of the time.


Lifestyle , Sex and Fertility

young african couple having conflict sitting on the sofaWomen

  • Obesity accounts for 6% of infertility in women
  • Obesity decreases total and free testosterone levels, decreasing a woman’s libido.
  • In women testosterone is the main driver of sexual pleasure, as a result, low levels lead diminished interest.
  • Low or no sexual interest is the root cause of many marital problems.
  • With weight loss, testosterone levels improve leading to improved interest.


  • Testosterone levels drop in men when they gain weight.
  • The Low testosterone (Low T) Leads to;
  • 1.Increased Abdominal Fat (Pot belly)
  • 2.Feeling of sluggishness, low memory, depressed mood and many more.
  • 3.Low T, along with diabetes which is also related to weight gain contribute significantly to erectile dysfunction.


Lifestyle and Early Death

  • Obesity and lifestyle directly impacts how long you live.
  • Unfortunately since People of African origin have the highest obesity rates as well as highest rates of most chronic conditions we have the highest mortality rates and lowest life expectancy.