Diabetes, heart disease and stroke are leading causes of mortality among African-Americans.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Minority Health, about four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. And while exercise and proper diet are proven to increase a person's lifespan and improve the quality of a person's life, in 2010, African-Americans were 70 percent less likely to engage in physical activity as non-Hispanic whites.
To combat the ill effects of living a sedentary lifestyle and to enhance the quality of life for African-Americans and others in the Twin Cities, Insight News, along with NorthPoint Health & Wellness and the F.I.T. Lab have joined forces for the Insight2Health Challenge. The challenge is designed to promote measurable and long-lasting health and fitness outcomes for program participants.
"Ultimately, we're trying to change people's lives," said Tyrone Minor, owner of the F.I.T. Lab, 1565 Como Ave., Ste. 102, St. Paul. "We've even brought in a life coach to help with goal setting and motivation. What we're seeing is that once people start to peel off layers literally, they start to peel off layers figuratively too and open up and discuss life issues with our life coach."
There are a multitude of reasons why African-Americans are less active and have poorer health than their white counterparts, but Jamie Minor, a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor with the F.I.T. Lab, said there should be little excuse when it comes to personal health.
"I think it's important to understand that a lot of the barriers we place upon ourselves (when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle)," said Jamie Minor, Tyrone Minor's wife. "Excuses such as 'I don't have time,' or 'I don't know how to cook healthy' are ones I hear."
The Minors themselves often train together and say they have found transitioning into a healthier lifestyle is easier when people do it with a partner or group. The two say people should seek support from friends, family, coworkers and even groups on social media can offer encouragement and provide a source of accountability.
"Get a support system," said Tyrone Minor. "It's going to be a team effort to get a person off the couch and into the gym."
According to the F.I.T. Lab trainers, the Insight2Health challenge is not just about who can lose the most weight.
"Fifty percent (of the challenge) is based on weight loss," said Tyrone Minor. "The other 50 percent is about lifestyle change, so people can truly make that change we talk about. We want to instill in them it's more than just what the scale tells you."
"We try to instill that today is a new day and to focus on the positive and moving forward and not to dwell on past transgressions," said Jamie Minor.
The current Insight2Health challenge runs until May 24 and the next one begins June 14. More information on the challenge is available online at www.insight2healthchallenge.com.