Each February, we celebrate American Heart Month with a strong effort to educate the public on the risks of heart disease and stroke. However, many Americans still don’t know what is fact or fiction when it comes to heart disease. Although most Americans realize that eating a proper diet, exercising, avoiding smoking, and knowing their family history and health numbers can lower their risk of cardiovascular disease, one-third of them are not taking these steps. In fact, a November 2013 Cleveland Clinic survey found that nearly three-quarters of Americans are not worried about dying from heart disease. Surprisingly, older Americans are the least worried. But the fact is that heart disease is the number-one killer of men and women in the United States with nearly 600,000 deaths each year – that’s one in every four deaths.
FACT: Unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and jaw pain can all be signs of heart disease. And the leading source of sodium in the American diet is found in bread products!
FICTION: Taking fish oil, vitamins, and supplements can prevent heart disease.
What can you do to educate individuals on their heart health and improve population health?
- Develop community outreach programs designed for use at schools, health fairs, and in-house education classes.
- Create a landing page on your website with information on heart health issues and healthy lifestyle decisions.
- Offer online health assessments to determine an individual’s risk for heart disease or stroke.
- Partner with area employers to provide education or incentives for developing a healthy lifestyle plan.
- Promote your organization’s heart health resources on social media.
Just because February is ending doesn’t mean you should stop promoting cardiovascular health. Spring is around the corner, and it’s a great time to promote a healthy lifestyle through exercise and nutrition. What is your organization doing to keep the momentum going on education?