Raising awareness of America’s health disparities
Sacramento, Calif. -To focus the national spotlight on health equity and emphasize the importance of preventing and reversing disease, and optimizing health, I will be walking across the USA starting on September 12. My solo journey, the third across the U.S., begins in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Walk USA For Health Equity (WUHE) was created to raise awareness of America’s health disparities. COVID’s devastating impact in communities of color where pre-existing pre-disposing, and often preventable medical conditions occurred, are evidence of the prevalence of such disparities. For example, according to researchers from New York University School of Medicine, one’s zip code has been shown to have a greater impact on health than one’s genetic code, including the length and quality of life.
What is health equity? According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,
“Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.”
Partnering with local organizations
To focus the national spotlight on all Americans having the opportunity to be healthy, WUHE was created. While information about how to get and stay healthy is vital, so also, is creating safer and life-giving neighborhoods where healthy food is available and affordable. A healthy lifestyle revolution across the USA is truly essential to reduce health disparities in vulnerable communities.
While I will walk one-fifth of the country each year by myself, I will be partnering with local organizations, such as North Carolina Association of Naturopathic Physicians, ministers, health equity advocates and others. Examples of topics that will be included at community forums include: vitamin D, access to safe drinking water, exercise, access to fruit and vegetables, nutrition, mental health issues, and safe neighborhoods. The public events may also include health fairs with blood pressure, heart rate, glucose, and other free health checks.
The first leg of the walk-610 miles -will begin in Myrtle Beach, SC, on September 12, and end in Knoxville, TN, October 10, 2022. The complete itinerary can found at www.WalkUSAForHealthEquity.org. The 2nd to 5th legs will take place from Knoxville, TN to Seattle, WA from 2023 to 2026.
To minimize the cost of the trip, and to put myself in a better position to meet people along the route, I will not be using a support vehicle, but will be pushing a “jogging stroller,” to carry some provisions. I will camp along the route unless other lodging is provided.
Each day’s walk will take approximately 8 hours, depending on the day’s scheduled distance, weather and the many conversations along the way. I will walk an average of 22 miles per day. Most days, the walk will begin about 7-8 am, and end about 4 pm, depending on local events planned, and other unforeseen factors that may arise.
Fun facts of Walk USA For Health Equity
Days: 29; Distance: 610 miles; Steps per day: 48,000; Total steps: 1,342,000; Total hours walking: 244; Expected calories burned: 174,000 (equivalent to 1,581 slices of Dave’s Killer Bread); Expected water consumed: 200-250 liters; Cars encountered on highway: 63,000; Dogs: undetermined, but one is too many when solo; Bugs: Infinite.
As a 44-year veteran of long runs and walks of conscience for health and social justice, I hope to inspire transformation in individuals, community-based program efforts, and local/state and national policymaking. This walk will be powered by volunteers and other health equity advocates across the country.
People often ask me why I do these extreme endurance events that put me at risk. My response is: The amount of risk and vulnerability one is willing to endure for a cause is directly proportional to people’s willingness to open their hearts, their generosity, and their willingness to listen and be inspired. This method of non-violent, direct action, often “earns one the right to be heard,” from people I have just met.
If you would like to help me spread the word, please check out our website of how you can get involved: www.WalkUSAForHealthEquity.org.
Explore additional topics from Dr. Godby at Natural Wellness.