Your Demographic Impacts Your Health

Tips, Tricks, and Controlling What Research Says.

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What Your Ethnicity Says About Your Health

I’ve always been intrigued by how much we can control versus how much is already determined, by factors like our ethnicity, demographics, sex, etc. Growing up in an Asian culture, my mom blessed me with a diet full of healthy ingredients but not much emphasis on exercise. I absolutely hated how my dad would wake me up on the weekends early by crashing through the door like Kramer on Seinfeld! Despite the rude awakening, I’m now an early riser, just like he is.

In this article, let’s dig into demographics and our health… and then do something about it.

Healthiness by Ethnicity
Healthiness by Ethnicity

By Ethnicity:

  • African Americans have the most sedentary lifestyle, versus Asians the most active of all ethnics groups in 2018.
  • Whites have higher death rates from “Diseases of Despair” (suicides, alcohol, drug overdose) compared to other races
  • 37% of Hispanics/Latinos suffered at least sometimes from anxiety, compared to just 16% of African Americans.
  • 38% of Hispanics/Latinos say they exercise a lot or vigorously, versus 14% of African Americans, according to a survey of Venture Out readers.

By Gender:

  • 43% of Females exercise for 30 minutes or more, versus only 30% of Males, according to a survey of Venture Out readers.

By Where You Live:

  • Diarrheal diseases is a leading cause of death worldwide but not in the U.S. Instead, in the United States, accidents and intentional self-harm have a larger impact.
  • Kentucky least physically active, versus Oregon, Alaska, and Washington the most physically active states in 2018.

By Education: The more educated you are, the more you exercise.

By Age:

  • As you get older, the rate of average exercise drops roughly 15% from age 25–34, compared to those 65 and over.
  • As you get older, the length of a workout decreases, but the intensity stays consistent throughout all ages, according to a Venture Out survey.

Bottom line, you might be predisposed to certain illnesses, but then again there’s lots we can do to control those stats above:

  • Exercise more, despite your race, age and education level. It’s literally that simple. 😉
  • Pay attention to why your lifestyle may be predisposing you to anxiety and despair. Do something about those things that bring you down.
  • Mental wellness. Just read the GQ Editor’s comment about how a book about back pain revolutionized his life. How? Because, in a lot of case, the pain is caused by stress.

Your Ethnicity & Health — How much can you really control?

Holy crap, are we all still at home and in self-isolation?! No gyms, no group exercise classes?! Look, things could be worse, and, more than ever, at least we have our health.

We just dug into some stats about our health based on demographics. Now let’s throw those findings out the window and instead, get smarter at how we live and exercise. In other words, we’ll fight demographic statistics with facts on healthier ways to live.

I recall a couple years ago I saw my doctor. When he checked me out, he noticed my heartbeat was fantastic, and then said, “well, you’re asian, so that explains the good heartbeat.” Good to know my genetic gives me an advantage there, but I don’t want to take that for granted either. During this Stay At Home, I’ve been racking up the cardio.

Most Common Exercise Types
Most Common Exercise Types

What exercises are you doing?

  • Swimmers and runners were slimmer than walkers and had better cardiorespiratory fitness. Also, years later, only 2% of the swimmers had died, compared with 8% of runners, 9% of walkers, and 11% of nonexercisers. You don’t want to die, do you? [6]
  • Walking is the most common form of exercise for readers of the Venture Out.

Are you tracking your exercises?

  • Percentage of U.S. adults who use an app to track their fitness regularly or occasionally: 43% black versus 38% hispanic, 37% asian, 33% white [1]

What and how are you eating?

  • Avoid ultra-processed foods, which are inherently fattening, don’t induce satiety, often dehydrated to become shelf-stable, and able to be rapidly consumed. In other words, the more shelf stable it is, maybe the less good it is for you.
  • Importance of protein, because it’s the most satiating macronutrient.
  • Eliminate plastic in your kitchen. For example, bottled water could have been sitting in a truck’s cargo bed for days, weeks, months, and what happens is that it leaches plastic compounds like BPA and phthalates. This [can affect] everything from libido to potential risk for certain cancers.

Health Tricks From Other Ethnicities

Ever get jealous of another race or demographic, because of how they seem to be more fit or age better? “Black don’t crack!” “Asian don’t raisen!” Or maybe it’s because higher income people can afford fancier facial creams to prevent wrinkles.

Some of it might be genetic or resources, but I’d venture to say there is something we can all do that is within our control.

Two things I’ve been doing now is using lotion with sunscreen on my face every morning, and doing a series of stretches every night. I’m hoping this pays off in dividends when I’m old, with a less cancery face and flexible enough to put my leg behind my head.

What are some of your tricks? A survey of Venture Out readers find over 60% rate themselves as healthy, and over 80% as eating healthy! Nice job readers!

High Productivity by Race Self Assessed
High Productivity by Race Self Assessed

Morning & Waking Up

  • Japan’s asa taisou (朝体操) is a morning stretch routine. Actually, most asian cultures have some sort of morning stretch routine and usually performed outdoors. Blood circulation plus nature has got to be a good thing!
  • DO THIS: Go in your front yard (if you like attention) or backyard (if you’re shy), and do some short stretches for just 5 minutes.

Evening & Sleep

  • In my survey of Venture Out readers, over 30% say they have trouble falling asleep. And according to a poll on sleep differences by ethnicity:
  • Blacks/African-Americans report the busiest bedtime routines.
  • Asians report getting the best sleep, report the least amount of sleep problems and infrequent use of sleep aids.
  • Hispanics are the most likely to say they are kept awake by financial, employment, personal relationship and/or health-related concerns.
  • Whites are the most likely to report sleeping with their pets and/or their significant other/spouse.
  • DO THIS: Common in all races, it might be the environment we are sleeping in that is the cause. For example areas with lots of pollution, mass transit noise, and bright lights may be impacting our sleep quality. Scope out your bedroom and improve it — no TV, less bright lights (especially no blue lights, instead use warmer yellow lights), colder temp & a heavier blanket.

REFERENCES:

  1. U.S. adults that use an app to track fitness 2017, by ethnicity Published by Alexander Kunst, Dec 20, 2019
  2. Mortality Trends in the United States, 1900–2017
  3. Prevalence of physical inactivity among adults in the U.S. as of 2018, by ethnicity* Published by John Elflein, Jan 21, 2020
  4. Rate of moderate or vigorous exercise participation amongst individuals aged 25 and over in the United States in 2008, by age group and education level Published by Statista Research Department, Sep 30, 2010
  5. His tale of crossing Antarctica was riveting. But how much was fiction? Colin O’Brady says he crossed Antarctica alone and “unassisted.” Polar experts say he’s embellishing his accomplishments in pursuit of fame By Aaron Teasdale
  6. Efficient Exercise for Your Busy Schedule by Patrick J. Skerrett
  7. Don’t Wait for a Heart Attack to Save Your Life by Patrick J. Skerrett
  8. How CEOs Manage Time by Michael E. Porter and Nitin Nohria
  9. Cognitive Fitness by Roderick Gilkey and Clint Kilts
  10. 30 Home Workouts to Stay Fit When You’re Stuck Indoors: You can’t just spend all that time planted on your butt. Here’s how to get active. by Brett Williams and Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S
  11. 10 Free Services to Use for Your Workouts at Home: You can stay fit while you stay inside due to the coronavirus. By Adrianna Freedman
  12. CorePower Yoga Offers Free Online Classes to Improve Your Self-Isolation by Clement Obropta
  13. Percentage of adults in the U.S. who suffered at least sometimes from select health symptoms as of February 2017, by ethnicity, Published by Alexander Kunst, Sep 3, 2019
  14. Leading causes of death among the white population in the United States in 2017 Published by John Elflein, Feb 12, 2020
  15. Leading causes of death among black U.S. residents in 2017 Published by John Elflein, Aug 9, 2019
  16. Leading causes of death in the United States 2018 Published by John Elflein, Jan 30, 2020
  17. An At Home Bodyweight Workout by Jason Pak and Lauren Pak
  18. The Simple Steps Everyone Can Take to Live a Healthy, ‘Genius’ Life, According to a Science Journalist by Erin Bunch
  19. Poll Reveals Sleep Differences among Ethnic Groups
  20. Five Things You Need to Know If You’re African American And Can’t Sleep By James LaVelle Dickens, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP
  21. 10 things the rest of the world can learn from Japan by Evan Schulte

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