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U.S. Surgeon General’s Rx for Women’s Best Health

From the Show: HER
Summary: Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin gives her best advice for women's health.
Air Date: 11/10/16
Duration: 27:51
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Regina Benjamin, MD, Former US Surgeon General
Dr. Regina BenjaminRegina Benjamin, MD, MBA,is the Founder and CEO of BayouClinic, Inc., as well as the NOLA.com/Times Picayune Endowed Chair of Public Health Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana, and from 2009-2013, served as the United States 18th Surgeon General. She specializes in prevention policies and health promotion among individuals as well as large populations, especially concerning obesity, childhood obesity, and children’s health. She has special interest in rural health care, health disparities among socio-economic groups, suicide, violence, and mental health.

From her early days as the founder of a rural health clinic in Alabama to her leadership role in the worldwide advancement of preventive health, Dr. Regina Benjamin has forged a career that has been recognized by a broad spectrum of organizations and publications. In 1995, she was the first physician under the age of 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. Other past board memberships included the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Catholic Health Association, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Benjamin is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She has been chosen as a Kellogg National Fellow and Rockefeller Next Generation Leader.

In 1998 Dr. Benjamin was the United States recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. She received the 2000 National Caring Award, which was inspired by Mother Teresa and was recognized with the Papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Ponticifice from Pope Benedict XVI. In 2008, she was honored with a MacArthur Genius Award Fellowship. In 2011, Dr. Benjamin became the recipient of the Chairman’s Award at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards. In May 2013, Reader’s Digest, ranked her #22 of the “100 Most Trusted People in America.”

Benjamin has a B.S. in chemistry from Xavier University, New Orleans, attended Morehouse School of Medicine, earned an MD degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an MBA from Tulane University. She is the recipient of 24 honorary degrees.

U.S. Surgeon General’s Rx for Women’s Best Health
Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin says health is in everything we do.

It doesn’t just take place in your doctor’s office. Health happens at home, at work and in social circumstances.

The cheapest and simplest way to start improving your health is to start walking. It doesn’t require any special fundraising or skills, just the ability to walk. Americans don’t walk as much as  people in other countries.

Evolution of Girl Trek
Girl Trek started with two friends who regularly walked together and decided to form an online group. It is now a nationwide organization of 60,000 women who have walking campaigns and community leadership. These African American women are walking their way to better health. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth walked African Americans out of slavery. Civil rights marches for freedom incorporated walking. Girl Trek ties African American walking history to the fight for better health.

Sixty-seven percent of African American women engage in little or no leisure time physical activity. Eighty-two percent are currently overweight and 53 percent are mortally obese. 

Girl Trek is changing behavior by encouraging walking and talking to friends. Kids learn healthy habits by joining the walks. Women meet one another within neighborhoods, building community and relationships. Women who shed pounds are also shedding emotional weight.

Walk for Physical, Mental & Emotional Health
Rates of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension are higher in African American and minority communities. Raising awareness to get people moving can help reduce these rates.

Walking once a day can help with physical and emotional health. Reduce stress by incorporating movement into your life.

For change to be sustainable, it has to be meaningful. It should also be fun.

Listen in as Dr. Benjamin shares how you can get moving, as well as the great work Girl Trek is doing.

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