3 0 September 24-September 30, 2009

THE NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS

Health Care
Laughter may be the answer
My mom used to say, when things were not up to par, "Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone." She used to sing a song with the words, "Gret your hat and get your coat, leave your worries on the doorstep, life can be so sweet on the sunny side of the street." Often, when things were not looking up, a laugh would sometimes quench the depression. Before continuing this column on laughter, I would like you to do the following: Look in the mirror, open your mouth and grin. Take a deep breath and begin to laugh without making a sound. Your whole body will shake. Dr. Norman Cousins referred to this as "internai jogging." You can't imagine the chemicals that are released in your body that reduce stress, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression and even the risk of heart attacks. Even the immune system releases cells that destroy viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. Often, with laughter, forgiveness comes into the picture. During my practice of medicine, I always made it plain to my patients, if they wish to become well, they would have to call up the person (family or not) who they had a grudge against and ask for forgiveness. Speaking of forgiveness, the other day I heard a minister in one of his sermons relate the following story: There was an elderly lady who lived alone and was very lonesome; in fact, she had even stopped laughing. She decided to get a parrot that she could talk to. She treated this parrot like it was her baby and bought the best food and plaj^hings for it. The parrot, in return, endeared her with terms of love and affection. One day as the woman took and, in afitof forgiveness, took him out of the freezer. He was shaking and almost experiencing the end of life. She warmed him up and put a blanket around him and he looked at her with forgiving eyes. He asked her a question: "I would like to know what that frozen turkey had called you!" It must have been a hell of a derogatory term! Just remember, things may be rough at this time, but you ing him such affection and are alive and breathing if you became very angry to the point are reading this column, and where she took the parrot and thank God for that! put it in the freezer of her For further instructions on refrigerator. laughter, log onto WorldLaughAs time went on, the woman terTour.com. could hear the parrot asking For great health tips and for forgiveness for what he had access to an online community called her. As she heard his of physicians and other healthvoice, she became very sad care professionals, visit. the cover off the parrot's cage, he began to call her the most miserable names. She could not understand this after giv-

House Calls

For one day, don't super size, exercise."
-Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Central Harlem Health Revival wants residents to take charge of health
ByAKOSUAK. ALBRITTON
Special to the AmNews Yes, there is a great life beyond mac and cheese. There's a life without fried chicken and white rice. There's a life full of vigor, vibrancy and expectancy in each moment when exercise, tasty, good nutrition and rest reign. The Central Harlem Health Revival (CHHR) is on a mission to show Harlem residents the path of health and wellbeing. Central Harlem Health Revival claims victory over obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and heart disease—all of which are preventable diseases. On September 27, the fourth annual Health Revival Week kicks ofFwith the Health Walk, which starts at West 155th Street and Eighth Avenue and ends at the Harlem State Office Building, on West 125th Street and Lenox Avenue. There are stops along the route at houses of worship to get quick, healthy living tips, such as substituting brown rice for white rice. From the walk, the community is welcomed to the Health and Wellness Fair at the State Office Building's plaza. Other events include an ecumenical worship service on October 1 at 7 p.m. at Ephesus Seventh Day Adventist Church, 101 West 123rd Street, and a health conference and fair at Minisink Townhouse, 646 Lenox Avenue. The impetus behind the week is the continuing high rates of hospital admissions for cases of stroke, pulmonary disease, diabetic complications and HIV/AIDS. Too many Harlem residents access emergency medical services rather delivery experienced in Central Harlem compared to the whole of Manhattan. CHHR's short list of member organizations includes Harlem Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Canaan Baptist Church, Mother Zion A.M.E. Church, Abyssinian Baptist Church and Ephesus Seventh

Health walkers strolling down Lenox Avenue (Laura Brown of Canaan Baptist Church, left corner foreground)

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than preventive care. The other motivating force is the firm belief in a higher power and that spiritual renewal is a mind, body and spirit reality. CHHR is an offshoot of the Borough of Manhattan Ecumenical Advisory Group, which is comprised of representatives of houses of worship and faith-based institutions in Manhattan. It receives guidance and support from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Office of Minority Health. CHHR grew beyond its parent body in the drive to reduce disparities in health and medical service

Day Adventist Church. The voluntary body uses teleconferencing and weekly meetings to finalize the logistics of the Health Revival Week. The September 8 meeting closed with a special prayer of encouragement for Dr. Kristie Lancaster, a professor in New York University's Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, who has steadfastly co-convened the meetings. Contact Central Harlem Health Revival at (646) 3455235 or www.centralharlemhealthrevival.org for more information.

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