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Looking ahead to American Heart Month
What is American Heart Month?
American Heart Month encourages people to focus on their hearts. Since 1964, February has been designated as the month for spreading the word about the importance of a healthy heart.
American Heart Month was prompted by the high rate of heart disease in the 1960’s. Heart disease remains a massive health issue in the United States and the leading cause of death worldwide, making Heart Month as important today as it was half a century ago. Heart disease covers a range of conditions of the heart that can lead to a heart attack, angina or stroke.
How can you help spread healthy heart habits?
American Heart Month is a group effort and will be more successful if many people get involved. How can you contribute? Here are a few ideas to encourage and motivate the people around you to adopt healthy heart practices.
National Wear Red day, February 7, 2020
Organizations and individuals around the country take part in the event to raise awareness around the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Your red outfit can be a conversation starter and your opportunity to draw attention to the importance of heart health.
Remind others of the main risk factors for heart disease
American Heart Month gives you a chance to address heart health directly and helps to remove the stigma of talking about possibly sensitive health issues. It helps to know the basics of heart health and risk factors so you can share helpful and accurate information with your community. The following are the main risk factors for heart disease:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lack of physical activity
- Family history
- Age (55 and older)
Remind Others that heart disease is preventable
The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of heart disease. Encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices, starting with these simple and achievable reminders:
- Don’t smoke or start a smoking cessation program to help you quit
- Eat for a healthy heart
- Exercise regularly
- Get your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose checked
#OurHearts social media campaign
Adopting healthy habits at work is a great way of encouraging healthy heart behaviors for yourself and the people in your work environment. Ask your company to get behind the initiative and share what they’re doing to promote heart health on social media, using the #OurHearts hashtag. Work-friendly, heart-healthy ideas include: walking meetings, meditation breaks, deskercise, healthy potlucks.
You can also extend the #OurHearts initiative beyond your workplace, sharing stories and photos of how you’re promoting heart health at home and in your community. Convince some of your neighbors to start a walking club and see how many people will want to be part of your new group.
Food is an important part of social events, so why not prepare healthier snacks for the big game or a birthday party or even a healthy romantic Valentine’s Day dinner?