We talk a lot about the problems that plague our communities and we protest when African-Americans are wrongly arrested or killed by police, and we should.  But, Black Lives Matter and preserving Black lives also includes doing things that prevent illness and disease.

Racism, poverty, the education gap and gang violence are all things the next President needs to continue to address.  Some of us worry that each of those things are leading to genocide.  But what’s going to take us out before any of those things is going to be our poor health unless we take more responsibility for what we eat, drink, smoke and how much exercise we get daily.

There is a segment of our society that is not messing around. They are making sacrifices by paying more for better food that isn’t laden with chemicals, they are walking 10,000 plus steps a day and they’re making sure their children are active in sports.

Major companies are taking notice of these lifestyle changes and they are already deciding to hire the healthiest candidates.   That means you can have a 3. 8 GPA and be the most qualified for the position but if your unhealthy or potentially unhealthy you might not be hired.  If you’re already employed at some of these health conscious companies, you’re already getting incentives for losing weight, being active and being proactive about your health.

Once they get a work force of the healthiest people they will use that as a bench mark to measure how their new hires compare to their healthy staff.   If African-Americans continue to lead in the most chronic illnesses and disease, how easy will it be to say no to us, not based on our race but on our health?

The good news is you have a chance to turn it around, if not for yourself, for your kids or grand kids because the writing is on the wall.

I’ve heard of families with three 3 generations of dialysis patients all trying to take care of each other.  Don’t let that be your legacy.

I would say to the class of 2016, if you’re smart enough to graduate, that means you’re smart enough to take control of managing your health.  You may not have a 100 percent success rate, but the odds for a better future will be in your favor.  That’s a gamble any of us should be willing to take.

Here’s to a healthy class of 2016, now and in the future!

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Let’s Get Smart About Our Health!  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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