The Disease NO ONE Is Safe From

A hand adjusting a weight scaleObesity. Yes, it’s a disease. The good news? Americans are exercising more. The bad news.  The obesity epidemic is still growing.

READ: Are You Overweight Or Obese?

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READ: The Healthiest Things You Should Do Every Day

A nine-year study of data from the University of Washington suggests that physical activity alone is not enough to combat the problem of excessive weight gain.

READ: 10 Foods That Make You Burn The Most Fat

“While physical activity has improved noticeably in most counties, obesity has also continued to rise in nearly all counties,” said lead researcher Laura Dwyer-Lindgren, from the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The obesity problem is directly related to how much Americans eat, said senior author Ali Mokdad, a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

“Americans are not doing enough to control what they eat,” he said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and obesity contributes to serious chronic illnesses, high medical costs and premature death.

“We have to face the reality that obesity is affecting our health,” Mokdad said. “We need to take care of ourselves by watching what we eat and how much we exercise.”

READ: The Diseases That Obesity Can Cause

From 2001 to 2009, the percentage of adults meeting recommendations for physical activity — 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week — increased in most counties in the United States, the researchers report July 10 in Population Health Metrics.

But the percentage of adults considered obese also increased significantly. “In some counties, this increase was greater than 15 percentage points,” Dwyer-Lindgren said.

There was very little correlation between change in obesity and change in physical activity, the researchers noted.

Black Male Suicide Stigma:

Lee Thompson YoungFrom mental health issues to chronic health illnesses, there is a growing stream of black men choosing to end their own lives.


One of the most prevalent views within the African-American community is that we do not intentionally kill ourselves.  That suicide is something only white people or spiritually-weak people do.  That suicide is a cop-out, and that to even consider it is a “punk move”.  However, these apparent suicides and clinical research clearly indicate that African-Americans do commit suicide.

READ: Lee Thompson Young Commits Suicide

The Sad (And Real) Facts On Black Suicide

According to the American Association of Suicidology, in 2005, 1,992 suicides were completed by African-Americans and that suicide was the third leading cause of death among African-American youth.  The Centers for Disease Control reported that between 1999 and 2004, young African-American males had the highest rate of suicide.  This latter finding is consistent with research that males are more likely to complete suicides whereas females are more likely to attempt suicide.

READ: Black Suicide: The Truth Behind The Stigma

One reason for the difference is that men tend to choose more lethal means of death than women.  But please do not take this to mean that African-American women do not commit suicide; the same 2005 data from the American Association of Suicidology reports of the 1,992 completed suicides among African-Americans that 371 of those deaths were by females.    It is also important to note that, generally, there tends to be a underreporting of this behavior, so the numbers may be higher than those cited.

Read: Black Men & Depression: The Top 8 Signs

Why Are We Killing Ourselves?

So why do people commit suicide?  At the heart of suicidal behavior is the strong desire to be free from suffering, whether that be emotional, mental, and/or physical pain.  When we are hurting, we typically engage in behaviors to eliminate or at least lessen the pain. There are several risk factors that may suggest that a person is at a higher risk of committed suicide than others.  Some of these risk factors are:

  • male
  • elderly
  • chronic pain
  • substance use and abuse
  • chronic illness
  • lack of social support
  • poor response or an unwillingness to engage in mental health treatment
  • having a friend or family member that committed suicide
  • members of the Armed Forces who have had multiple deployments within a short time span

What To Do If Someone You Know Is In Trouble…

If a friend of loved one has threatened to harm themselves, do not make the assumption that they are simply seeking attention.  In many cases of suicide, the victim made it known to others that they were thinking about ending their lives.

Additional warning signs include:

  • feelings of worthlessness
  • no hope for the future
  • giving away prized possessions
  • withdrawing from others
  • impulsive behaviors
  • feeling trapped
  • significant changes in mood

If any of these are present in you or a loved one, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Black Suicide Stigma MUST Change

One of the main differences I have observed in people who have committed or have attempted suicide and others is access to a wide range of resources and the belief they can utilize them.  In treatment by a qualified mental health professional, one learns various coping skills to address the causes of their suffering and is provided the support and guidance to put these skills into practice.

The deaths of bright celebrity starts, including Seau and Cornelius are truly heartbreaking…as are the countless deaths of others in the African American community who felt they had nowhere else to turn. Until the Black community takes bolder steps to abandon this crippling suicide stigma, many of the medical community fear that these tragic statistics will only increase.