women learning to serve their own health needs

4/19/2013, noon
It’s 10:29 Wednesday morning as Leslie Magnum walks into the aerobics room at Quality Living Services (QLS) senior center and ...
Working it out

Dr. Daniel Blumenthal, dean of community health at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) agrees, arguing that the obesity is a much bigger problem for black women than black men.

“Usually it’s the women who put the food on the table, so if we can alter their shopping habits, that would make a difference,” Blumenthal said at a recent health conference at Morehouse School of Medicine. “They are the ones who usually lead the food culture of the men and children in the family.”

But Magnum says he’s seeing some good results with his QLS aerobics class.

“Some members who have diabetes have lowered their blood sugar levels through exercise, and some have even gotten off their medication,” he says.

Magnum adds that many women are motivated by group fitness.

“The women in my class inspire and encourage each other,” he says. “And they all enjoy being with people who are like themselves.”

Fifty-something Beverly Shivers says she’s been motivated to lose 25 pounds, and has already gone done a dress size.

“I see generations of women here, and I want to continue to be healthy and strong like them as I age,” Shivers says. “I also take Square Dancing classes here, so I stay active.”

Kelley adds, “It’s like a job – everyday you have to make time for your health.”

Magnum believes health must go beyond the fitness classes, so he’s also working with churches, community gardens, and public health officials to empower communities to form healthier environments.

And as he closes out his one-hour class, he always has the women shout out:

“I love myself – that’s why I work so hard and look soooooo good!”