HEALTHY HEARTS=HEALTHY FUTURES PROGRAM
WHAT IS THE HEALTHY HEARTS=HEALTHY FUTURES PROGRAM?
The Healthy Hearts=Healthy Futures Program is Kentucky's Cardiovascular School Health Program that was created to address the behaviors associated with Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in our schools. This program was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The negative behaviors that contribute to CVD are learned in childhood, and continued into adulthood. Since many Kentuckians will have developed the early stages of CVD by adolescence, it is important to teach young people healthy heart habits early in life. By creating an environment where homes, schools, and communities maximize the potential for all children to be healthy, these children can be given the best potential for learning. The goals of this program are to promote:
- Healthy nutrition
- Regular moderate physical activity
- Tobacco abstinence in schools and communities
CURRENT TRENDS IN CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer and cause of disability in the U.S. and Kentucky. Kentucky is ranked 11th nationwide in mortality due to CVD. The rate of CVD in Kentucky is 13% higher than the national average.
Most of the CVD risk factors are modifiable through behavior. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, changing one or more of the following risk factors can have a great impact on cardiovascular health:
- Becoming physically active
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Adopting a healthy diet high in fiber, low in fat and cholesterol
- Avoiding tobacco use
FACTS ABOUT CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
- Behaviors that contribute to CVD begin in childhood.
- Only four other states have fourth grade students who watch TV longer than Kentucky children. (The Pritchard Committee)
- The percentage of seriously overweight young people has more than doubled in the last 30 years. (The American Dietetic Association)
- Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to have increased learning difficulties, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems. (William Sears, M.D.)
- The National Cholesterol Program recommends that children over 2 years of age should eat no more than 30% of their calories from fat, and 10% of their calories from saturated fat.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AND YOURSELF HEART HEALTHY
- Be aware of the behavioral risks for heart disease in your family.
- Investigate policies in your school related to physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco use.
- Become an advocate for heart healthy children in your school.
Look for simple ways to change your habits to reduce the risks of heart disease in your family. These could include:
- Going for walks with your family after dinner at least 3 times a week.
- Discussing the dangers of tobacco use with your children.
- Trying alternative cooking methods to reduce your fat intake.
- Making sure you get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
- Modeling heart healthy habits for your family.
- Helping your children learn good decision-making skills.
REGIONAL CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH COORDINATOR CONTACT INFORMATION
Regions 1 and 2: Keena Miller
Regions 3 and 4: Jennifer Embry
Regions 5 and 7: Joyce Swetlick
Regions 6 and 8: Jim Tackett