For today’s breakfast I had something new, coupled with an old stand-by. I have loved Stonyfield Farms yogurt for a long time. In fact, when first started feeding my son solids, their Yo Baby yogurt was one of his first foods. I have tried, and loved, other Kashi products, but I had never tried their granola. It was on sale at my local grocery store, so I decided to try it out. Well, I liked the pairing a lot. The sweet dried apples coupled with the pecans were an interesting combo. It went really well with the strawberry yogurt. Here is how it looked in the bowl, but I think it tasted better than it looked ;-).
Anyway, while I am on the subject of Stonyfield Organic, I recently learned that they are sponsoring a Healthy Living Summit. It will take place next month in Boston. The tagline for the conference is, “Bloggers for a Balanced Lifestyle.” As I was looking for the panel that will be present I noticed some great bloggers, some of whom I am familiar with. However I noticed one gaping omission: not one blogger is a person of color. Now this may sound like a small thing. Of course, the people behind the Healthy Living Summit have every right to choose whichever bloggers they want for their conference, however I am frankly tired of being made to feel that “healthy lifestyle” is a brand that is for one particular narrow section of the population.
Ok, so none of the bloggers look like me, does that mean they don’t have worthwhile information and valuable experiences to share? Of course not. I have read the blogs of at least two of the panelists. They do have information to share. But I’m also dissappointed to feel that minorities are always left out of the healthy lifestyle bandwagon. It’s almost like a balanced lifestyle is a club and brown peole need not apply for entry. That may sound harsh. Let me explain.
I feel like health if being advertised as a product, as though it is a commodity that only a select few can afford. Think about the last time you saw a commercial for a healthy product, like 100% whole wheat bread. What did the actor/actress representing the product look like? Now think about the last time you saw a commercial for fast food. What did that actor/actress look like? It seems like these days healthy living is becoming less accessible to minorities and people of color, and instead of The Healthy Living Summit, and other similar conferences, making health more accessible to minorities, they make it less so. Do you mean there is not a single Black, Latino or Asian health blogger that they felt worthy of their panel? I find that hard to believe.
One site that I love to read is Sparkpeople.com and Dailyspark.com. Both of these are extremely informative and feature articles about healthy and wellness. Well, they’re also sponsoring a conference, called Spark Your Life. Once again, the panel features Caucasians, exclusively.
You might be wondering why I am getting so riled up over a few little conferences, well here is why. Well according to the U.S. Office of Minority Health, over 79% of African American women are overweight or obese, while 57% of White women qualify as such. Additionally, African Americans are nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes, and In 2005, African Americans were 2.2 times as likely as non-Hispanic Whites to die from diabetes, (Office of Minority Health).
African Americans and other minorities need the message of health now more then ever, and yet all too often we are made to feel that “a healthy lifestyle” is not within our reach. The information needs to reach our communities. Unfortunately, the myths that permeate the minority communities, the myths that state healthy food is bland and expensive and exercise is too time-consuming, need to be deleted, now before it’s too late. The truth that healthy food can taste good and also be affordable needs to be expressed. The fact that exercise can fit into our lives with just a little effort needs to be put out there. I challenge The Healthy Living Summit and the Spark Your Life Convention to be more aware of these facts, and perhaps in the future make a greater effort towards inclusion.