American Heart Month sheds light on lifesaving work of American Heart Association

Local efforts focus on equitable health for all

To address the urgent needs in our community, the American Heart Association has made a commitment to driving equitable health. The emphasis is on certain key areas: COVID research, women’s health, elimination of tobacco and vaping, high blood pressure reduction and healthy living (with emphasis on increasing food access and building mental resilience).

While our world has been greatly challenged amidst a global pandemic, heart disease and stroke remain our No. 1 and No. 5 killers, both nationally and here in Greater Cincinnati. Locally, many of our residents are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, with 62% obese, 19% use tobacco products, and 63% have high blood pressure. 

And it’s critically important to note that life expectancy varies greatly depending simply upon your zip code. The difference between living in Avondale and North Avondale can mean the difference of living 10-15 years.

Rooted in ensuring that all our neighbors have equal access to care, our local AHA is tackling health disparities by meeting people where they are. With our blood pressure monitoring program – Check. Change. Control. –we work within faith-based communities and corporations to improve hypertension, control rates and encourage healthy lifestyles. We are also collaborating with barber shops and Federally Qualified Health Centers to provide health prevention and education to improve health literacy.

To tackle the tobacco and vaping crisis in our region, we hold regular community conversations to eliminate tobacco use, and have completed a free, downloadable toolkit to assist schools and organizations who are working toward implementing policy and tobacco cessation.

And each year, the AHA holds a STEM Goes Red conference for high school girls from diverse backgrounds to inspire girls to envision themselves as the next generation of innovators, engineers, healthcare professionals, scientists and entrepreneurs.

These are just a few of initiatives the AHA is implementing in Greater Cincinnati. But we have much work to do and we need strong community commitment to drive sustainable change. The AHA relies on the support of its donors, sponsors and supporters.

Here are ways you can get involved during Heart Month:

 All month long

  • Register for the Digital Heart Mini Experience on March 28! Get a team together and register. New for the Heart Mini this year — #MiniMyWay Challenges. Choose to EAT SMART, BE WELL or MOVE MORE! Thanks to presenting sponsors Kroger Health, Mercy Health and Kellogg’s.
  • “Fight Hunger with Heart” Kroger in-store heart sale campaign runs through Feb. 28. Show your support at the register and in Rx – and thank the cashier as a friend of the AHA! 
  • Show your support at any First Financial Bank branch across the Tri-state through March 28th. Donate and sign a heart in honor of your “why.”

Friday, Feb. 5

  • National Wear Red Day! Wear your red and encourage others to do so as well. Post a photo on social media using #CincyGoRed. Watch for news anchors and buildings in red. Need resources? Click here. Thanks to City Goes Red sponsor The Christ Hospital Healthcare Network.
  • Heart Ball online auction opens! A key part of funding our mission is through our Heart Ball auction, with our guests bidding on experiences, merchandise and gift certificates. The auction will conclude on Friday, Feb. 12th at noon, and we will celebrate the huge strides we have made in funding! This is a great way to find that perfect Valentine’s Day gift and support our mission! Go to our Heart Ball website for information on how you can bid on auction items! Thanks to Heart Ball presenting sponsor St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Thursday, Feb. 11

Last year’s Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team: (back) Craig Todd, Lee Stautberg, Jerin Dunham, Jeff Hock, Ben Russert, Joel Stone, Joseph Hricovsky, Garren Colvin, James Ferguson, Mark Jahnke, JB Buse. (front) Mark McDonald, Michelle Boutillette Hudgens, John Mongelluzzo, Dr. DP Suresh

2021 Heart Ball Chairman’s Board: Patrick Brown, JB Buse, Garren Colvin, Karl Dahlquist, James Ferguson, Dick Friedman, Jeff Hock, Mark Jahnke, Mark McDonald, John Mongelluzzo, JoAnne Noyes, Alvin Roehr, Joel Stone, DP Suresh, George Vincent and Ben Willingham

  • The Heart Ball Kickoff Party will feature special guests Cristian Pietoso, Via Vite and Forno restaurateur, Kevin Hart, local wine connoisseur and founder of Hart & CRU, and a performance by Justin Todhunter, Melodic Connections instructor and Jake Speed and the Freddie’s band member. We will share how AHA is making equitable health a priority by focusing on increasing nutrition security, eliminating tobacco and vaping, reducing heart and stroke risk for women, promoting mental well-being and addressing COVID-19 cardiovascular implications. For more information on how you can attend, please email Tricia Sunders or visit our Heart Ball website.
  • Tobacco Endgame Coalition Community Dialogue – 2-3 p.m. on Zoom & Facebook Live. Talk with local leaders about the AHA’s new toolkit and the importance of implementing tobacco policy in schools, organizations and flavor policy. Register here!

Wednesday, Feb. 24

Our goRED Talks Series (ticketed events) is our new professional development series featuring inspiring women and thought leaders across the community. Purchase tickets.

 Saturday, Feb. 27

Go Red Girl Scout Patch Digital Program allows scouts to earn their patch virtually! This program is for Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors. Register your troop.

About American Heart Month:

February is American Heart Month, and the American Heart Association is asking the nation to turn its attention to keeping families and communities free from heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans.

Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) kill about 2,300 a day. Obesity in both youth and adults is at an all-time high, youth are being diagnosed with heart disease earlier than ever and people just ZIP codes apart can live 25 years less than their neighbors because of disparities in health.

American Heart Month is vital for awareness, but the American Heart Association urges people to take care of their hearts year-round. Consider the facts:

  • Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Heart attacks affect more people every year than the population of Dallas, Texas.
  • 83 percent believe that heart attacks can be prevented but aren’t motivated to do anything.
  • 72 percent of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease.
  • And 58 percent put no effort into improving their heart health.

While science is advancing medicine in exciting new ways, unhealthy lifestyle choices combined with rising obesity rates in both kids and adults have hindered progress fighting heart disease.

The good news is that heart disease is preventable in most cases with healthy choices, which include not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week and getting regular checkups.

Thanks to the American Heart Association for providing the content.

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