Vive Akugha: Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

by Vive Akugha

Health webinar poster

Saturday 23 April 2022

The Promoting Healthy Lifestyles seminar had one of its annual sessions on the 23rd of April 2022. This informative virtual seminar featured presentations on: Prostate Health in Black Men; “Ending the Cycle of Silence” & Healthy Eating on the Go, and occurred in two parts with a raffle draw at the end. The first part of the program focused on prostate cancer and The Walnut Foundation, while the second part focused on healthy living. This session was brought together by a coalition of ten African, Caribbean, and Canadian organizations in Ottawa namely: African Canadian Association of Ottawa; Barbados (Ottawa) Association Inc.; Black History Ottawa; Flo’s Seniors; Guyana Ottawa Cultural Association Inc.; Jaku Konbit; PSAC – Racially Visible Action Committee; Rocena Kidney Foundation; St. Lucia Ottawa Association; and The Trinidad & Tobago Association of Ottawa.

The Promoting Healthy Lifestyles committee of Myra Flash, Ingrid John-Baptiste, Jean-Marie Guerrier, Denise Moore-Isaacs, Maxine Grant, Gail Waterman-Worrell, Brenda Agard Alleyne, John Adeyefa, Joanne Robinson, and others celebrated 15 years of health information for the black and African community in Ottawa while expressing an appreciation for Ingrid John-Baptiste’s dedication with the committee since 2007.

The Walnut Foundation is a registered non-profit charity fully volunteer-based. They focus on issues that affect black men including systemic biases, misinformation, indifference to health, intimacy, and sexuality. They provide a safe and confidential environment for dialogue and use an approach of sharing experiences and information from reliable sources.

The board members at the seminar include Ken Noel-the president, Anthony Henry-the vice president, and Winston Klass- a board member and director of the Prostate Cancer Support Group. The walnut foundation provides support, is passionate and the implementation of their experiences (and encourages consultation with medical personnel as they do not give medical advice) helps end secrecy to create dialogue for better assistance.

Some notable points concerning prostate cancer are:

*Over 75% of black men are likely to get prostate cancer.

*Black men are twice as likely to die from Prostate cancer as any other ethnic group (per the World Health Organization)

*The rates of death from prostate cancer of two-to-nine times higher in the Caribbean than in the United States (in a similar study done by the U.S  C.D.C).

*This study also reports that prostate cancer accounted for 18% and 47% of cancer deaths in the Caribbean.

*There is an increased risk to black men causing higher incidence among black men, higher mortality rates, a two times higher risk within the family, and a higher likelihood of more aggressive strains of prostate cancer.

*Black men should not be non-compliant, fixate on surgery as the only solution, be indifferent to prevention routines, or fear the Digital Rectal Exam. Health should be taken seriously.

*Black men do not seek second opinions, mismanage their doctors, downscale mistrust, and tend to ignore the free PSA tests. The health care system should be taken full advantage of.

* There are a lot of stigmas associated with prostate cancer in the black community and black men do not query the rumors. Prostate cancer is seen as an old man or gay man’s disease is inaccurate as well as the rumors associated with having too much or too little sex, prostate cancer or enlarged prostate, and prostate cancer occurring from a venereal disease. Many men in their 40s and ’50s have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, so the dispelled rumors need to be shared more than the rumors.

*There’s a tendency among men to resist any irrational responses to a prostate cancer diagnosis. It’s a difficult thing to accept and could warrant zoning out as “anything below the waist in a black man” is a threat to their masculinity. There’s a social stigma due to it not being talked about causing an unawareness that men do not die from prostate cancer when noticed early and paranoia about the impact on the partner.

*The silence should be curbed. Black men should open up about prostate cancer diagnosis amongst friends, and families and attend support groups.

*The symptoms of prostate cancer are not unique and are addressed by modern technology. A frequent urination symptom is not distinct until tested. Black men should start getting tested as early as 40 years old especially if there is a history of prostate cancer in the family. Tests such as a Preliminary Blood Test (PSA), Digital Rectal Exam, and Biopsy could be added to an annual physical examination. Regular screening is important because 1 in 8 black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer (a fact in the United States and Canada).

*When caught early, prostate cancer does less damage to the nerve bundles for sexual arousal. It has less drastic treatments as there are more options available early on.

The issue of secrecy was emphasized throughout the event and The Walnut Foundation’s prostate cancer support meeting is tailored to support black men. The advisors include graduates of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Prostate Cancer Peer Navigator program. It will provide the opportunity to interact with other black men of similar needs and experiences. Contact The Walnut Foundation and check their website to join the support meeting and participate in upcoming events like their 2022 Fundraising Walkathon called the 8th Annual Walk The Path Walkathon, (on the 4th of June 2022) for men’s health and prostate cancer awareness.

Link to YouTube recording of the event: https://youtu.be/ieP7fnotG6Q

Link to Facebook recording of the event:  https://www.facebook.com/Bayhillnewsnetwork/videos/698653258221485

About The Walnut Foundation

Mission:

To be the leader in Men’s Health Support that empowers men to be responsible for their health.

Vision:

We are known for the Quality of Information and Best Practices we demonstrate and share. We empower males with the information we share.​

Website: https://thewalnutfoundation.com/

Email: info@thewalnutfoundation.com

Number: 905-799-2759

Julie Griffith-Foodie Quest Consultant

Julie Griffith has always loved the flavour, texture, and variety of all foods. As a foodie quest consultant, she is a person who has an ardent and refined interest in food as she is always on a quest to find faster, easier, and more economic ways to enjoy high-quality restaurant-style food in your home. Her mission is to help you create healthier and tastier meals for your body, mind, and soul.

Some healthy food tips from Julie are:

*The numerous health benefits of turmeric should be utilized. It is recognized as an anti-active ingredient in making sure your body stays healthy with at least 15 milligrams as often as every day.

*Other nutritious items mentioned are garlic, olive oil, and basil which could help enhance the quality of food and used multiple times.

*Ensure all plates look appealing and look the same for everyone despite food restrictions.

*As a foodie, she encourages medical assurance through doctors.

*It is best to work with ingredients as fresh as possible or store them well to retain freshness.

*A healthy lifestyle is encouraged when things are easily available and could be made quickly.

*A change of lifestyle through total avoidance does not last but a reduction with substitutes as little changes helps the transition.

She has various tips, recommendations, and recipes available in her videos provided through the email: acccottawa@gmail.com and from posts on Flo’s Seniors website, https://floseniors.com/

To contact Promoting Healthy Lifestyles:

Email: acccottawa@gmail.com Phone: 613-834-1718 or |613-292-3375

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Vive Akugha

Vive Akugha is a student in the Bachelor of Arts degree program at the University of Ottawa, majoring in Communications. She writes on social issues, well-being, and out of curiosity. Her major platform for writing is on Medium.com as @veevehhswritings. As a follower on there, you can sign up for her email list to be up-to-date on her posts. She is @Veevehhwrites on Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to share your opinions with her as she is with you.

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