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How can I help improve the health of all Americans?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

To improve the health of all Americans, it's important to face that fact that race plays an important role in how healthy you are, your risk for certain diseases and how long you’re going to live. The good news is that we can change this. These problems aren’t written in our genes, but in the way our society treats minorities and provides healthy options for those who live in unhealthy situations.

It might seem like this problem is too big for you to have any hope of making a difference. But I want you to think of how these disparities play out in your life and how you might go about changing them even on a small scale.

  • Maybe your grocery store doesn’t stock low-salt versions of any of its canned beans or vegetables. Talk to the manager and ask if it would be possible to get these low-salt versions.
  • If you don’t feel safe exercising alone in your neighborhood, start a walking group or find some other people who could do exercises in the park with you.
  • If you feel like you don’t know enough about how to improve your health, ask a nearby community center if it will hold an education event about making healthy food choices specifically in your area.

Finally, if you see a problem, speak up. Talk to anyone you think is affected by the problems you see and bring them to his or her attention. The more people you make aware of how your community is set up to harm your health, the more likely something is to change.

This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.