ATLANTA - If anyone wonders why Black women need a health book geared specifically to them, they need look no further than the new release, Living Well...Despite Catchin' Hell: The Black Woman's Guide to Health, Sex and Happiness The author is Atlanta obstetrician-gynecologist, media consultant and national speaker, Dr. Melody T. McCloud. "Today's Black woman faces a myriad of new and unique circumstances, so it's time for a new book with a new message," says McCloud, who also penned Blessed Health: The African-American Woman's Guide to Physical & Spiritual Well-being.
Even prior to its release, Living Well has received high praise from national figures. In the foreword, Pauletta Washington - wife of Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington - writes, "Living Well is a comprehensive guide to help us ensure total health, and a thorough look at the issues Black women face." TODAY Show contributor, psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, wrote a shining endorsement, as have other notable educators and organization heads.
Blessed Health focused on the medical-spiritual connection; Living Well addresses the psycho-social factors that affect Black women's physical lives. These factors include disparaging images in the media (including some Black girls "gone wild"), colorism, low marriage statistics, the risk of HIV/AIDS and the high incidence of men on the "down-low." These factors - the "hell" - coupled with the ever-present medical challenges of killer diseases such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, heart disease and more, put Black women in a unique class to themselves.
While government officials repeatedly mention ‘lack of access' and ‘lack of insurance' as key culprits in the state of Black women's health, Dr. McCloud says social stress also play a major role in Black women's health outcomes and asks, "How does one quantify the effect such social factors have on one's physical health?" Her groundbreaking "Societal Stress and Black Women's Health: The ‘Rejection Connection'" flowchart [in color] interrelates these factors as never seen in medical or lay publications. Despite these challenges, many Black women live well, and others aspire to do just that. This book helps guide their path.
The book is written in conversational tone and has easy-to-understand chapters about head-to-toe medical conditions including fibroids, menopause, lupus and more. The bibliography is extensive and crosses many disciplines. The book includes bar graphs because, "It's time we feed on meat, not just milk," says McCloud. "When one actually sees how far ‘off the chart' the STD rates are among young Black men, it can't help but give you pause. Black men need to be more responsible, and Black women need to not be so quick to jump in bed, nor repeatedly have babies out of wedlock. Times are different. The community is dying - literally and figuratively - as a result of this cyclical behavior. Some wounds are self-inflicted, and it need not be."
In the section "Life Lessons for Your Daughters," the author gives young ladies a four-step approach to healthier lives: "Close Your Legs, Be Well Read, Tend that Body and Sweat that Head." The author's social commentary is direct and, at times, calls many to task, including movie producers, television moguls and hip-hop artists. She also gives a prescription of "tough love" to Black men and women in the community, and celebrates those who have done well.
Living Well...Despite Catchin' Hell is professional medical advice, sexology, sociology, psychology, dashes of pop culture and hefty doses of personal responsibility.