LIVE YOUR HEALTH
In 2010, after completing a rigorous application and site review process by Meals On Wheels America, we were awarded “Exemplary Status” Magnet Accreditation for our outstanding senior nutrition program.
When we think of Valentine’s Day, we often think of hearts. But in addition to hearts for love, every February is American Heart Month and provides people a great opportunity to focus on their heart health.
This year’s campaign is called “You’re in Control” and focuses on younger adults ages 35 to 64 who are not immune to heart disease. According to Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes, “Not only are more younger adults dying of heart disease, but their rates of risk factors – such as physical inactivity, tobacco use and hypertension – are also increasing.”
While this year’s focus is on younger adults, everyone can benefit from the campaign’s key messages:
“Find time to be active.” The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. It is important to find time to move. Exercise doesn’t have to be done in 30-minute sessions; it can be done in 5- to 10-minute increments throughout your day. Also, the little things do add up. Take the stairs, park farther away from your destination and get up and move during commercial breaks when watching TV.
“Make healthy eating a habit.” Add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet. Choose lean meats. Reduce sugar, trans fat and sodium intake by eating fewer processed and packaged foods. Does this sound overwhelming? Small dietary changes also add up and, over time, become habit. Focus on one change at a time.
“Quit tobacco … for good.” Quitting is tough but not impossible. Your heart, lungs and entire body will thank you when you quit. Visit smokefree.gov for tips and support to help you kick the habit for good.
“Know your numbers.” Have your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels checked regularly. Together with your physician, you can take steps to control your numbers.
“Stick to the script.” It is important to take your medications as prescribed. Even if you feel fine, taking your prescribed medication is important for managing and controlling your disease and risk factors.
How does Meals On Wheels of Northampton County help you or a loved one maintain a heart-healthy diet? Meals On Wheels menus are planned by Registered Dietitians and are low-fat and low in sodium. Meals are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy and are planned using principles of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Salt is never added during the cooking process; instead, herbs and salt free seasonings are used to season foods. Meals On Wheels is committed to keeping your heart healthy all year, not just for Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month.
Hayley Daubert is a registered and licensed dietitian and nutritionist who consults with Meals On Wheels of Northampton County and other organizations. For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.