The Aga Khan Health Board (AKHB) for the United States of America was first established in 1987, allowing it to increase capacity and expand needed services to the Jamat. At that point, we organized multiple heath fairs in major Jamati centers to promote health awareness, and at the same time, collected valuable data pertaining to our Jamat’s health and wellness. Over the years, this data has been reviewed and updated, and observations have been made to help create significant strides in improving the health of our Jamat and identifying risk factors contributing to morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) within the Jamat.
The data collected during these important formative years showed that our Jamat was at significant or high risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. As a community, our lifestyle did not lend itself toward healthy eating, careful meal planning, or higher rates of physical activity. It was evident that addressing the area of prudent nutrition would definitely make a positive impact on the health of our Jamat. As a result, a National Health Drive was launched to increase awareness of the impact of poor nutrition and motivate our Jamati members to make positive lifestyle changes.
Making changes to our lifestyle requires significant effort and commitment on a daily basis. After successfully motivating the Jamat to adopt healthy dietary habits, it continues to remain a challenge to incorporate healthier ways of cooking our ethnic dishes into our daily meals. Choosing the right ingredients, cooking with less oil, using leaner meats and less sodium makes it hard to preserve our expectation of taste in our cultural foods. This current eBook series, presented almost 20 years after the establishment of AKHB, continues to strengthen our desire to improve our quality of life while preserving our taste for food. It is our hope that the innovative recipes found within all four eBooks will offer healthier versions of our authentic, mouthwatering recipes without compromising their taste and flavor.