Stress is Killing People in BayView/Hunter’s Point

New Program to work on reducing stress and increasing physical activity

By Carol McGruder

Carolmcgruder.jpgEnough with stressed out people, poor health indicators, and the ever-widening canyon of health disparities!  It is time for residents of the Southeast Sector of San Francisco (Bayview, Hunters Point, Hunters View, Sunnydale, Potrero Hill, Visitation Valley, Double Rock/Alice Griffith) to take matters into their own hands, get off their butts and shake it like a salt shaker (ask the kids what that means)!  From two to ninety-two it is time for us a community to get up and “move it move it, before we lose it lose it.”
Folks, we are dying at faster rates and in greater numbers than any other section of the city.  From obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and strokes we’ve got it bad and that isn’t good.  How we arrived at this point in time is complex.  But one thing is clear; if we want to live we must change!  I once heard motivational speaker Les Brown say that people change when the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of remaining the same. 
“Are we there yet because our community is in deep pain?”  My people, we must change the lifestyle behaviors that contribute to our children, our adults, and our elders living impaired lives followed by early deaths.  There are so many things that need a changing but let’s start with the things that are in our control.  Most of the items from the above-mentioned list would improve dramatically if we would reduce our stress, increase our physical activity, and change our diet.  We are not going to ask you to give up the fried chicken (that’s for next year) but we are going to work on reducing the stress and increasing the physical activity of residents in the southeast sector.
Imagine an African dance troupe based in Bayview, Tai Chi every morning at King Park, our own Bayview Ballet Folklorico, senior citizens Praise Dancing in our churches, children marching at the mosque, Hip Hoppers Hopping, a “So You Think You Can Line Dance?” contest.  Imagine a healthy fit and less stressed community, active children with clear eyes and healthy complexions!  Imagine!
It all starts with…organizing…not to be confused with another study that goes nowhere.  In the very near future the San Francisco Department of Public Health will be funding residents, neighborhood groups, and community-based organizations to provide programs to reduce stress and increase physical activity.  They are currently assessing the community to find the best ways to get us moving and they need your input and assistance.  We need to know what already exist, what people want to exist, where you want to go, what you want to do, how you want to do it and more importantly how you envision the community “moving it”!!
There are several ways to get your opinions heard.  The quickest and easiest way is to participate in an online survey at www.bayviewshapeup.org.  In addition to surveying community leaders and organizations, we will be holding small group discussions to get input.  For further information, please call Carol McGruder at (415) 777-3229 ext. 317 or email: info@bayviewshapeup.org
Carol McGruder is a community activist specializing in Health Issues.