Columbia, SC Mayor Steve Benjamin and National Forum Board member and Black News Channel host Mark McEwen take to the radio airwaves to discuss the importance of preventing and controlling high blood pressure to reduce one’s risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and, now, COVID-19. These two influential African American men share their personal efforts to control high blood pressure, and how others can take control of their blood pressure. Hypertension (high blood pressure) disproportionately affects African Americans, leading to racial disparities in health. Their conversation aired on Columbia’s Jammin’ Hits WDEK 97.9 FM and 1170 AM on Sunday, May 17. Click here to catch their episode.
“There are things we all can do to improve our health,” Benjamin tells listeners. “Hypertension is the pathway to strokes and heart attacks, but you can get off that path.”
Benjamin and McEwen’s interview is tied to Million Hearts®, a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in five years. Their messages apply to all people and are especially pertinent to Blacks/African Americans who have high blood pressure.
Benjamin says he uses the National Forum’s Move with the Mayor™ platform “to encourage people to walk, to change the way we live” by being physically active. As President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, he made Move with the Mayor™ part of USCM’s 2018 Leadership Meeting, scrapping shuttle buses in favor of walking from one meeting venue to another. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams joined hundreds of mayors and local residents walking through downtown Columbia, a demonstration of active transportation to everyday destinations.
McEwen, a popular on-air personality at CBS News and now the Black News Channel, who inspires audiences with the story of his comeback from a major stroke in 2005. But he makes clear that “it is better not to have a stroke—or heart attack—than to have to recover from one.” He joined the National Forum Board of Directors in 2018.