The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute’s “Real Women Real Change” health and wellness program is a comprehensive 10 week course study with a focus on improving health and wellness in women. Real Women Real Change empowers women in two age specific cohorts. The 25-39 cohort features 10 weeks of exercise and health course instruction. Participants are provided tools to live healthier lives through fitness and proper nutrition. Ages 40-75 designed to encourage women over 40 to take charge of their lives by changing sedentary behaviors, and to stay healthy and fit. Women in this age group often carry the burden of family health, meals, and daily activities often leaving little to no time to concentrate on their overall mental and physical health.
Each session focuses on a comprehensive plan to reduce obesity, provides vital information on the prevention and management of chronic illnesses, with a mental health component. Participants receive a health and wellness toolkit, along with a needs assessment to develop a personalized plan of action that is beneficial to their specific health concern. GRAAHI believes that when you change behaviors you lower risk factors and improve areas of stress; poor nutrition; sedentary behavior; and the failure to prioritize both mental and physical health.
Participants receive weekly class instruction with area health professionals on risk factors that contribute to poor health outcomes and higher rates of health disparities that impact African American women. Topics of discussion include:
GRAAHI encourages group and peer accountability. Each participant is paired with an accountability partner, “women, who work together, grow together”. Accountability partners have proven successful over the course of the two year program. Past participants express the importance of sharing their journey with others, and the positive impact a support system can have on overall health and wellness.
Real Women Real Change has graduated six classes since its inception in 2013, and has educated and empowered African American Women in Kent County over the two year period
“Real Women Real Change” made a significant impact in my life. The program helped me realize that a lifestyle change was possible, and gave me the courage to face the challenge head on. During the 10 week course I was able to eliminate one blood pressure medication, and increased my exercise from 15 minutes to 45 minutes daily. Since my graduation in 2013 I have continued to make strides. I have lost a total of 6 dress sizes for a total weight loss to date of 38 lbs., and I’m happy to report that I am less than 200 lbs. for the first time in 10 years. Thank you Real Women Real Change and GRAAHI!”
-Shelley Lyle, 2013 Participant
Check out the RWRC brochure!