For Roland Cotton, healthy eating is a life saver.
He’s seen first-hand how effective healthy eating and fitness can be in helping individual reclaim their vitality. When his son suffered a near-fatal stroke at age 38, Cotton jumped into gear. By introducing a more nutritious diet, he helped his son reclaim a healthy, bike-riding lifestyle.
Today, and for the past three years, Cotton devotes his time to giving others – especially those with chronic illnesses – the same opportunities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2012, 117 million Americans have one or more chronic illnesses. In fact, 1 in 4 adults have two or more chronic conditions. The most common chronic conditions are heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.
Overall, 7 out of the top 10 causes of death in the United States are chronic conditions with heart disease and cancer accounting for 48 percent of all adult deaths. The total cost for treating heart disease and stroke in 2010 was estimated to be $315.4 billion.
Despite the prevalence of chronic disease, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveals only about one-third of adults with these conditions report receiving advice from their primary care doctors about choosing a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.
To encourage others to eat better for a better life, Cotton works with community gardens, farmer’s markets, and backyard gardens. Supporting food borne from personally digging in the soil is the driving force behind his efforts.
But, it takes more than his two hands to make these efforts effective. He easily engages other people and provides the leadership needed to help them carry on the same healthy behaviors in their own lives.
If you’re interested in finding opportunities to engage in your community through service, please check out All for Good for projects near you!