According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the #1 killer of women and men in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease or what is also known as cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is a leading cause of disability and healthcare services, medications, and lost productivity costs the United States over $300 billion each year.
To help prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, the Chippewa County Health Department and the Sault Tribe Partnerships to Improve Community Health Project, partners of the Kinross and Sault Ste. Marie Building a Healthier Community Coalitions, are highlighting February: American Heart Month.
In Chippewa County, according to the Michigan Health Statistics (2012), the top three leading causes of death (age-adjusted) are heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory diseases. According to the MI Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (2011-2013), 15.2% of residents in Chippewa County have cardiovascular disease, 40.4% are obese, 17.5% smoke cigarettes and 28.2% reported that they have no time for leisure or physical activity.
People can make healthy changes to lower their risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:
Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.
Julie Trotter, Chippewa County Health Department Prevention Specialist stresses, “We are all responsible for our own health. Discuss your concerns about heart disease risks with your healthcare provider on an annual basis. Live, work, and play in smoke-free and tobacco-free spaces. Despite the hectic schedules and huge availability of fast and convenience foods, prioritize physical activity, such as walking, and healthy eating in your daily living. Love your heart. You’re worth it!”
Under the Michigan Department of Community Health Active Living and the Sault Tribe Partnerships to Improve Community Health grants, CCHD and the Sault Tribe are partnering to highlight the importance of walking and physical activity as a means to prevent or manage chronic disease. The Active Living Grant Project was developed by the MDCH Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program to develop sustainable projects that promote active living. This project aligns with Michigan’s efforts to reduce obesity rates and improve overall health through the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan.