Editorial: Recommit to a healthier heart

Published 8:45 pm Monday, February 11, 2019

Every February since 1964, the president of the United States has declared the month to be American Heart Month, an opportunity to focus on heart health and remember loved ones lost to heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, at the time of that initial declaration by President Lyndon B. Johnson, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease. Today, one in four deaths is caused by heart disease.

According to the Heart Association, 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 38 seconds.

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What can be done to change that number?

President Donald Trump’s declaration for American Heart Month, issued Jan. 31 this year, reminds us that “it is never too late or too early to improve your heart health. Small changes — undertaken at any time — such as committing to a healthy diet and regular exercise can make a big difference.”

People must take steps to stay physically active and maintain a healthy body weight by eating a well-balanced diet and abstaining from tobacco products, the declaration adds.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises even little changes such as using spices to season foods instead of salt or motivating teachers and administrators to make physical activity a key part of the school day as a few examples of things you can do.

The Department of Health and Human Services outlines the importance of physical exercise and gives information on how much activity adults and children should be getting.

The guidelines recommend adults get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic physical activity and muscle-strengthening activity per week, while children ages 6 to 17 should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.

We encourage you to take little steps each day and recommit to a healthier lifestyle — not only for you but for your loved ones, as well.