Ask Ginger: American Heart Month
Feb 09
2018

Ask Ginger: American Heart Month

By Let's Move Pittsburgh

You've got questions ... we’ve got answers! Email your queries about healthy foods, physical activity and screen time for kids and Ginger will answer them here on the Phipps blog.

 

Q: February is American Heart Month. What can I do to make sure I’m keeping my heart healthy? (Alyssa, Bloomfield)

A: Great question! American Heart Month marks a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and can affect someone at any age. Luckily, adding daily exercise and making nutritious food choices can keep your heart healthy. If you would like to learn more about the history of American Heart Month, you can visit their website for more information.1

If you are interested in incorporating American Heart Month into your classroom or school, here are some ideas provided by the American Heart Association.2

  • Have students write simple exercises on a strip of paper and put them in a bag. Take breaks throughout the day and have a volunteer select a piece of paper and invite the class to complete the activity
  • Teach a lesson on heart health
  • Jump rope and sing rhymes related to classroom lessons
  • Have students create a MyPlate and draw their own healthy meal
  • Share food ads from the local newspaper and have students create a healthy shopping list and calculate the total cost
  • Organize a school-wide physical activity session during recess or gym time
  • Plan a scavenger hunt around the classroom to get students moving. You can even make it heart themed!
  • Provide handouts to students for them take home to their parents related to healthy habits

Here are a few more ideas to incorporate American Heart Month into your everyday life and reduce your risk!3

  • Choose a heart healthy lifestyle. Engage in moderate aerobic exercise, such as jogging, swimming or bicycling, to maintain a healthy body weight
  • Adopt a diet low in salt, saturated and trans fats and high in unsaturated fats. Fill your meals with fruits and vegetables to provide your body with a variety of nutrients
  • Avoid smoking. To quit, consult your doctor or join a community support group
  • Make meal time, family time! Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals
  • Use spices instead of salt to season your meals
  • Find ways for the whole family to get active. Try taking a walk after dinner or playing freeze tag inside

For more information and resources, reference the American Heart Month toolkit provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute!4

 

Sources

1. History of the American Heart Association

2. American Heart Association: For the Classroom

3. The Heart Foundation: How to Reduce Your Risk

4. NIH: American Heart Month


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