Laila Ali "a hit" with BHCC Students
Friday, March 1, 2013
Champion boxer turned women’s fitness advocate Laila Ali, daughter of legendary fighter Muhammad Ali, called on students at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) to take control of their own health.
"We need to take care of ourselves now before we have a problem in the future,” said Ms. Ali, who spoke at BHCC on Thursday, February 28, as part of the College’s Compelling Conversations speaker series, which has brought such notables as actress America Ferrera, New York Times columnist Gail Collins, filmmaker Ken Burns, neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta and former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., to the campus.
A proponent of natural remedies and “eating clean” by avoiding processed food, Ali urged her audience to educate themselves about good nutrition and exercise.
“Other countries spend a lot of money and energy on preventing people from getting sick,” Ali said. “But in this country we make a lot of money from people getting sick. Where money is being made, it’s going to keep being made, so you can’t sit around and wait for someone to educate you on health.”
A 34-year-old mother of two, Ali revealed that she is currently in culinary school and that students should keep an eye out for her on the Food Network in the future. “I love to eat. I love to cook,” she said, adding sternly, “and thank God, I love to work out.”
A community college graduate and successful entrepreneur, Ali decided to become a boxer after seeing a women’s boxing match on television. Her father was not happy about the decision, she said. She gave up bad eating habits, started exercising, and went on to capture four championship belts. She was undefeated during seven years in the ring.
The experience left Ali a strong advocate for women’s fitness. She is a past president of the Women’s Sports Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes equality for women in professional sports. She currently hosts the ABC-TV show “Everyday Health.”
About Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts, enrolling approximately 18,000 students annually. BHCC has two campuses in Charlestown and Chelsea, and a number of other locations throughout the Greater Boston area. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-five percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls nearly 600 international students who come from 94 countries and speak more than 75 languages.