February is American Heart Month! It is a time to examine our health, eating habits, and fitness routines to determine how we can live longer and healthier lives. During these times of economic hardship, health concerns may seem like a long-term issue during a short-term crisis, but I encourage everyone to take a moment to evaluate his or her lifestyle to improve health as winter enters its final weeks.
We’ve all heard the advice before, but since it pertains to health, the most precious of commodities, it bears repeating: if we eat right, get enough exercise, and cut back on or eliminate dangerous habits like smoking, we can enjoy better health.
According to the American Heart Association (http://www.americanheart.org), overweight children and adolescents have a 62% - 98% chance of being overweight at age 35, and this increases their risk of heart disease. For adults, monitoring one’s health is equally important: high blood pressure is a key risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Learn your blood pressure numbers with a quick (and painless) test during your next checkup.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for African-American men and women – it claims the lives of over 100,000 annually! For people across all racial and ethnic lines, heart disease is a major cause of death for Americans.
However, small changes can go a long way:
- Check labels and focus your food budget on healthy choices
- Make exercise part of your daily routine. Make it a family undertaking. Remember: dancing, jogging, and walking are also good forms of exercise for various ages and groups.
Of course, these are just basic pointers. You should consult your own doctor for more concrete, detailed information.
Helpful websites include:
I wish everyone a continued healthy and joyous year!
Very truly yours,