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Janeisha Broome's determination leads to healthy change

Many struggle to maintain healthy eating habits but staying healthy in rural communities is even more challenging. Camp Hill area resident Janeisha Broome decided to meet that challenge when her health declined. 

After living with Lupus for five years, Broome decided to take control of her health, saying she realized lifestyle changes would keep her here longer to raise her 9 and 12-year-old daughters. January 2017 marked the beginning of Broome’s new lifestyle built on clean eating and exercising.

By cutting drinks, fried foods, and junk food from her diet, drinking primarily water, and walking three to four miles daily, Broome has lost 256 pounds over the past 18 months.

“In the area that I live, it’s hard to get the things I need to actually stay within the healthy range. But I would rather drive that distance to stay on the healthy path,” Broome said.

Diabetes and high blood pressure runs in her family, Broome added, but so far, she is “blessed to say I don’t have either.”

Watching their mother’s progress impacted her daughters in a positive way as well. “I went from being the heavier mom who wasn’t able to do a lot to me having more energy than them,” the proud mom said with a laugh.

The lack of healthy options shows in overall health of rural, low income populations. Disease impacts those areas more acutely.  According to the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Rural Health Association, the percentage of deaths associated with obesity in Alabama is 33 percent and 37 percent in Tallapoosa County.

“Living in a rural area is more challenging because the only things available to you are convenient store things such as chips, sodas and candy. When living in a city, you are able to go to Walmart, Publix, and many other places that sell fresh produce, which in my opinion is the heathier choice,” Broome said.

Furthermore, the percentage of deaths associated with hypertension in Alabama is 8.5 percent and more than twice as high, at 27.2 percent, in Tallapoosa County.  The number of deaths associated with heart failure in Alabama is 40.2 percent and 42.4 percent in Tallapoosa County.

But Broome was determined not to be a statistic. She made the decision to change her lifestyle, which led to her incredible results. “My starting point, exercise, was not something I enjoyed, but I knew it was necessary. It takes self-discipline to push to keep on. If not, I know I’ll be back at my starting point, which I don’t want to be.”

Broome added, “The doctors initially questioned if I should do what I wanted to do to try to lose weight. Now they see it was for the better.” Her Lupus has improved a lot since she lost weight.

“I tried diets before,” Broome reflected, “but this time I decided to commit.” She revealed her portions are the size of her hand, and she ensures there is something green included in every meal.

“Everyone’s eating habits changed,” Broome said as she smiled at her daughters. “But they are happy to see me able to interact with them better.”

Now Broome said she hopes to inspire others to take control of their health by staying positive and working around obstacles such as limited access to healthy food options close to home. “I promised myself I don’t want to go back to the old me,” Broome said.

Her advice to others working toward a healthy lifestyle under similar conditions is to remember that “convenient isn’t always the best choice when you’re on the weight loss journey.”