Doctors' NotesLifestyle

The ABCs of Healthy Tailgating

Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents and husband and wife physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via digitalpitches@ebony.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 


Football fans are in high gear as they prepare for this weekend’s Super Bowl showdown between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. For many, there isn’t a more exciting time of year! However, before you plan the menu for the game day celebration, there are a few health tips you may want to consider. To make it easy for you, we have created the ABCs of healthy tailgating. Check out our list of tailgating pitfalls that you want to avoid, so you’re not sidelined after the Super Bowl this year.

A) Arthritis: For a lot of football fans, tailgating and party menus consist of burgers, hot dogs, chips, dips, seafood, nuts, nachos, and beer.  But many of these foods significantly increase your risk of developing gout.  Gout is a painful inflammatory arthritis characterized by joint pain, swelling, and redness most often seen in the great toe, knee or other large joint.  It is caused by an increase in the uric acid level in the blood, which can come from consuming foods that are high in purines. This not only increases the risk of having a recurrent gout attack, but also substantially increases the likelihood of developing gout. For your Super Bowl menu, we suggest you choose lean poultry, low-fat dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, and plenty of water instead.

B) Blood Pressure: We know that excess sodium should be avoided in those with high blood pressure. But most tailgating menus are packed with processed foods that are high in sodium. In fact, a typical game day meal can easily have more than 1,500 mg of sodium at one sitting.  It’s recommended that those with high blood pressure, or those at high risk consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Alcohol is also known to increase blood pressure and should be kept to a minimum.

C) Calories: A recent study found that fans of professional football teams consumed 10% more calories and 16% more saturated fat on the Monday after their team lost. Why? Comfort food. While this may not sound like a lot, if your team just happens to be winless on Super Bowl Sunday, this could lead to a lot of extra calories and ultimately weight gain.  Our advice: Make sure you pick a winning team to cheer for and avoid putting on the extra pounds.

D) Drunk Driving: Always a public health concern, drunk driving injures hundreds of thousands of people each year. Super Bowl Sunday historically ranks as one of the most dangerous times of the year for drunk driving deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 50 percent of all traffic deaths on Super Bowl Sunday and the early hours of the following morning are caused by drunk driving. Make sure you have a designated driver if you will be celebrating with alcoholic beverages. Please don’t get behind the wheel.

It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors:

Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!