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Environmental Sciences

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University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY
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It's About You

It's About You


Matters of the heart are in the air! But keeping our hearts healthy are more than just cards and flowers as we acknowledge February as American Heart month. Today, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US and KY, and especially for women. By thinking smart, eating well and moving move, we can reduce our chances of heart disease. This month on "Its About You", Jackie Walters, RD and State Extension specialist for Nutrition Education and Joey Maggard, Executive Director, American Heart & Stroke Association, Central Kentucky give us insights about personal and community based lifestyle changes that can help prevent heart disease. Joey also provides information on the new AHA START! corporate and community-based physical activity program and discusses the recently implemented program in Lexington.

Core Messages

  • We can help prevent heart disease by consuming a diet low in fat, especially saturated fats and reducing our salt intake. Focus on using polyunsaturated or monosaturated oils such as canola, sunflower or olive oil. Watch for the hidden sources of sodium in the diet, i.e. condiments, canned soups/entrees. A regular size can of beef ravioli has 970 mg or approximately 50% of our total daily requirement. (2300 mg)
  • In addition to the well-established risk factors for heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, adnominal obesity and sedentary living, a new factor has emerged. Recent research shows that C-reactive protein, or CRP, a blood-borne marker of inflammation, along with coagulation factors, is being recognized as the driving force behind clots that block blood flow to the heart.
  • Eating the right foods can help reduce the inflammatory market CRP. Those foods include cold-water fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel; flax seed; walnuts; and canola oil or margarine based on canola oil. The Mediterranean diet, even though not low fat, can help prevent heart disease as its main sources of fat- olive oil and oily fish along with nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits( purple grape juice) can improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.
  • Lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease include more than eating well. The first step is to move more! The American Heart Association has initiated the START! , a nation -wide corporate and community based physical activity program. Lexington, KY has one of the first certified AHA walking paths using the pedway that links the Lexington Center to the other downtown businesses.
  • A combination of not smoking, eating well and moving more will reduce heart disease. A brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of stroke, bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and high blood pressure and physical active individuals save an estimated $500 annually in healthcare costs.


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Copyright 2011, Questions/Comments - Last Updated: March 13 2013 14:51:04