With the month of February approaching, love is beginning to fill the air. Red envelopes and mushy cards line the card aisles and store shelves are stocked with heart shaped boxes filled with all sorts of delectable treats. Local florists prepare for the surge of orders for red roses and restaurants begin advertising their romantic dinners for two. But the month of February isn’t just a month that we celebrate Valentines Day. It has also been designated as American Heart Health Month, which is jump started by the National Wear Red Day campaign, a day when everyone wears red in support of creating awareness about heart disease in women. Naturally I participate as do my fellow employees as well. Last year, I decided to do something different during heart month and came up with an idea to show the impact of heart disease on our female population at work that I would like to share with all of you.
Sources indicate that 1 out of 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. What’s scary is that 80% of those women who died were due to preventable risk factors. Being overweight, smoking, eating a high sodium diet, not managing diabetes, being inactive, not managing stress – these are all risk factors that with the right help and education, any women can change in order to lower her risk of being faced with heart disease or stroke. The other 20% died due to unpreventable risk factors such as age or genetics – things that can unfortunately cannot change.
But anyone can read statistics on paper. I decided to put these statistics into a whole new perspective. To exhibit the impact of these numbers at work, I choose 1/3 of our female employees as volunteers and of those volunteers, 80% of them were given my black “Make the switch, lower your risk” t-shirts to wear to exhibit the number of deaths due to preventable factors while the other 20% were given pink ones exhibited the number of deaths due to factors that could not be changed. As you can imagine, with a group of 50 employees, majority of which were women, it became evident that the impact of such statistics could have a profound impact on just our workforce alone. That is where I came up with the “Make the switch, lower your risk” logo that was printed on the volunteers t-shirts. So what does it mean to “Make the switch, lower your risk”? It’s a reminder to make a switch in your lifestyle to lower your risk of heart disease or stroke. Even the simplest of switches in your lifestyle can help to lower your risk and help you to lead a healthier life. All employees were given goodie bags, filled with things like information about joining our local gym, to stress balls to relieve stress, Oatmeal samples as a reminder to eat a more fibrous diet to Mrs. Dash samples to encourage a salt alternative – all sorts of items to hopefully encourage them to make a switch in order to lower their risk.
As Heart Month and Wear Red Day 2018 approach, my goal is to continue with my “Make the switch, lower your risk” campaign; Not only to bring education and awareness to my fellow employees at work, but to the public as well. I may not be able to save the by world myself, but I hope to have an impact on at least one individual, to encourage them to make a change and to help them live a happier, healthier life!