Choose Your “Big 4” Related Personal Goal

How many of us have made New Year’s resolutions, only to find them evaporate like mist in the months that follow? The fact that it’s early in the New Year should make us even more determined to succeed this time around, especially since doing so will help us to live longer, healthier and happier lives. That’s because our resolutions all focus on two key things:

1. Disease prevention, early detection and control;  2. Achieving and maintaining physical, mental and spiritual health.Sodium_Photo

By the way, our Big 4 targets for minority health were  chosen by Health Power because: (a) all four conditions are major causes of illness (morbidity) and/or death (mortality) in the U.S, especially among minority/multicultural populations; (b) each condition is closely associated with lifestyle such as eating healthy, having regular physical activity, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake; and (c) development of either of the four conditions increases the risk of developing one or more of the other three, and controlling either of the four, if present, makes it easier to control the others, if present.

The article, “Live Longer and Live Well: Prevent and Control “Our Big 4 Targets”, which begins on the Health Power Home Page at,, provides a wide variety of lifestyle suggestions, and statistics, about each of the “The Big 4.  
Our Resolutions list for 2014 has six resolutions for healthier lifestyles if not already practiced, that can put us on track for improved overall health. In the process, they will also help with the  prevention and control of Health Power’s 4  targeted big troublemakers for minorities/multicultural populations/people of color:

Big 4 Tragets

through smart, healthy choices in your daily routine. For a 150-pound person, this means trimming around seven pounds from your frame. If you’re 200 pounds, it translates into trimming 10 pounds off. For most people, these goals can be met. To understand how, you need to become familiar with what Health Power calls the Calorie Formula, and many health experts call the Energy Formula. What this means, in simple terms, is that in order to lose weight, you must burn off more calories than you take in. To lose one to two pounds every two weeks, one has to burn off 250 to 500 calories more than you take in each day. The following resolutions will give you a handle on how to achieve this.

RESOLUTION #2: Make healthy food choices. Cut back on high calorie foods, like fast foods, snacks, desserts and fried goodies like French fries that not only add weight, but clog up your arteries. Also, give up the soft drinks, which are loaded with sugar. Replace them with healthy snacks, like apple slices and granola bars, juices, and at least five fruits and vegetables a day. Controlling portion sizes is another way to limit your calorie intake. For more helpful ideas on healthy eating, see the Food Branch of our Food and Fitness ChannelCooking Good and Eating Healthy Tip Sheets, and Reading Food Labels. Also, check out our Fruit and Vegetable Shopping Tip Sheet, and

. Exercise burns off the calories you take in, making it possible to shed pounds. Aim for some type of physical activity at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you haven’t been active over the years, walking is a great way to get in shape. The key is finding something you like to do, perhaps riding a bike, dancing, gardening, jogging, or of course, walking. Also, take the stairs instead of riding in elevators if they’re safe; park further away from a store than you normally would so that you will have to walk further; and when taking a bus or subway, get off before your stop and walk the rest of the way. See the Fitness Branch of our Food and Fitness Channel for more tips on fitness.

. By limiting your alcohol consumption to no more than a drink a day, you’ll be doing yourself a world of good. Your chances of heart disease and liver damage will be reduced. Plus, you’ll lose weight more readily since you’ll no longer be taking in all the fat and calories present in most alcoholic drinks. See our Wise Drinking Tip Sheet with the number of calories in popular drinks.

. The strongest cravings for food often occur when you’re facing problems and stress in your life. When you’re trying to come to grips with financial pressures, relationship conflicts, health problems or work stress, it’s natural to turn to high calorie, fatty foods for “comfort.” Come up with a game plan to control these stresses in your life. You may not be able to eliminate all of them, but by managing them better you’ll put yourself on the road to a healthier life. See Health Power’s 8-part series on Preventing and Reducing Stress.which includes 14 different approaches to stress reduction.

If you are a smoker, make this the year to stamp out your smoking habit – for good. It often takes smokers three or four tries before they’re successful. Don’t be afraid to seek help – from over-the-counter quit-smoking aids like nicotine gum, patches, hotlines and smoking cessation classes which many communities host. Also, our 5 Quit Smoking and Win Tip Sheets may be very helpful:
Tip Sheet No. 1: Planning for the First Quit Week
Tip Sheet No. 2: What’s in Cigarette Smoke
Tip Sheet No. 3: Fighting Smoking Triggers
Tip Sheet No. 4: Why Quit Smoking
Tip Sheet No. 5: How to Help Friends Quit Smoking


The most important resolution: 


Get ready mentally now by choosing one or more of our “Big 4” Resolutions below for 2015. That way, 2015 is likely to be the year you keep your chosen “Big 4” Resolution(s)!


By the way, it’s a good idea to start now rather than after you’ve gained 4 or 5 pounds (or more) during the upcoming holidays.

If you stay motivated and focused, you’ll greatly increase your chances of success. The following approaches can be very helpful:

  • Put encouraging notes and key reminders to yourself on the refrigerator or pantry door, etc.


  • Start a “buddy system” with one or more friends or family members who will help you reach your ambitious goals.  In other words, being with people often who are not only good listeners, but might be your walking or exercise buddy, or be with you in the kitchen while you periodically choose and try one of the Cultural Specialty Recipes or Celebrity Recipes in our Food and Fitness Channel.

Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power! ®

Best wishes, and let me hear from you

Norma J. Goodwin, MD, Founder, President & CEO
Health Power for Minorities (Health Power)

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