Calling All Heart-Healthy Lifestyles
Have you or someone you know recently made a heart-healthy lifestyle change like losing weight, quitting smoking, lowering blood pressure or starting a consistent exercise routine? If so, the American Heart Association wants to know! Currently accepting nominations through August 15, 2012 for its annual Greater Mercer Lifestyle Change Awards, the Association is seeking to recognize and celebrate Greater Mercer County residents and employees who have made a commitment to becoming heart healthy. This annual award is locally sponsored by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton and selected winners will be recognized at the 21st American Heart Association Greater Mercer Heart Walk on Sunday, September 9, 2012 at Mercer County Park in West Windsor, NJ.
The Lifestyle Change Award is a component of the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life.™ healthy lifestyle platform which focuses on empowering Americans to get healthier by eating better, exercising more, reducing stress and controlling risk factors that may lead to cardiovascular disease. With less than 1 percent of the population meeting the American Heart Association’s criteria for ideal cardiovascular health, it’s vital to encourage and celebrate heart-healthy lifestyle choices.
“Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton is excited to partner with the American Heart Association in an effort to recognize and improve the health of our community,” said Skip Cimino, President & CEO and last year’s chair of the Heart Walk. “We are honored to support the American Heart Association in celebrating individuals from the Mercer County area who have made significant lifestyle improvements by starting a regular exercise program, making healthier food or beverage choices or becoming tobacco free.”
Cardiovascular diseases remains the leading cause of death of Americans with nearly 2,200 Americans dying each day from these deadly diseases. In order to change this startling statistic, the American Heart Association has made a commitment to helping the public control risk factors that can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Obesity is a major issue for our community, surpassing smoking as one of the most expensive healthcare problems in America with an estimated 65% of adults considered overweight or obese. Unfortunately, obesity and heart-related health issues aren’t just limited to adults, with nearly one in three children and adolescents in the U.S. being obese or overweight. Physical inactivity also serves as a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease and a recent study showed that nearly 49% of adults aren’t meeting the recommended physical activity levels needed to be healthy. Although research has also shown that quitting smoking can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease in half, 21.2% of men and 17.5% of women were cigarette smokers in 2010. And nearly 4 million people age 20 and older have high blood pressure in our country.
“Changing one small thing in your day can make all the difference,” noted JoAnn Decillis certificate specialist at New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company and a 2011 Greater Mercer Lifestyle Change Award winner. “By making the decision to lose weight and gain control of my blood pressure, I’ve added years to my life. It was an honor to be commended for my actions by the American Heart Association and I hope that others in the Mercer County community share their stories of good heart-health to inspire others.”