Before Mohammed Chowdhury met a community health worker in New York City, the security guard struggled to manage his diabetes and high blood pressure.
That changed when he started to work with Mamnun Haq, a trained community health worker who communicated with Chowdhury in his native language Bengali.
Haq helped him tailor his diet by encouraging him to eat less meat and rice and instead fill up on staple Bangladeshi vegetables, like bitter gourd and squash, okra and green papaya, as well as sheem, a type of flat bean. They also created an exercise routine: He and his wife made a ritual of daily walks together.
Now, his blood pressure is lower and Chowdhury, 69, says he’s “feeling good.”