FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
January 30, 2008 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health will recognize February as American Heart Month to create public awareness of risk factors for heart disease and stroke and to promote preventive measures. People are encouraged to “Go Red for Women” on February 1st by wearing red to promote awareness of the leading cause of death among women – heart disease.
“Heart disease and stroke is largely preventable if the main risk factors, including high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol and blood glucose, tobacco use, inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, overweight and obesity, and physical inactivity are reduced,” according to DPH Commissioner, J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. “Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer in our nation and it is important that people take the necessary steps to keep their hearts healthy.”
In 1963, Congress required that the president proclaim February “American Heart Month.” The American Heart Association works with the administration in drafting the annual proclamation. The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
The Department of Public Health Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program focuses on priorities and strategies established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the incidence of, and death and disability from, heart disease and stroke.
The CDC priorities for heart disease and stroke prevention are:
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Controlling high blood cholesterol
- Knowing the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke, and the importance of calling 9-1-1
- Improving emergency response
- Improving quality of care
- Eliminating disparities
Tips for Families to Avoid Heart Disease and Stroke:
- Encourage everyone to eat well-balanced meals, including (steamed, boiled, grilled or baked) lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and low fat products.
- Provide at least five daily servings of vegetables and fruit.
- Offer water, low fat milk or fresh, unsweetened fruit juices to drink rather than soft drinks.
- Include fruit or vegetables in your children’s school lunch or snack. Convince your child’s friend’s parents to do likewise. Get their teacher’s support to put healthy eating on the classroom agenda.
- Make sure you don’t consume excess salt, especially through processed foods.
- Plan more family activities outside. Add 30 minutes of regular physical activity daily and build physical activity into day-to-day chores. Take the stairs rather than the escalators or elevators, for example.
- Make your home smoke-free and try to ensure that your children don’t smoke or experience tobacco smoke anywhere else.
- Limit screen time. Keep the TV or computer off as much as possible and make sure your children’s leisure time is packed with plenty of physical activity. Accompany your child to school on foot or bicycle.
- As a family member, set a good example by eating healthily, being physically active on a regular basis and by not smoking.
If you think anyone in your family is at risk for heart disease, check with your health professional.
For information about American Heart Month, visit the American Heart Association website at www.americanheart.org. For more information about heart disease and stroke visit the Department of Public Health, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program website at: http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3135&q=387022.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.