Heart Month is 60 years old! Let's take a look at how it's being celebrated in 2024, and how you can teach about heart-healthy topics any time of the year.
For Heart Month 2024, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is focusing on heart disease in women. They encourage women to “listen to their hearts and speak up for their health.” Many women don’t realize that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Then there are issues about how heart disease looks different in women, which can hinder recognition, diagnosis, and treatment.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) integrates Heart Month into their #OurHearts campaign. This initiative emphasizes small heart-healthy changes that can add up, an idea that is perfectly communicated through their special OurHearts Calendar for February. This well-designed interactive calendar provides action steps for each day of the month.
NHLBI’s Heart Month campaign also includes the Heart Truth initiative, which is geared towards raising awareness of heart disease in women of all ages.
So what will you do for Heart Month? If you don’t already have something planned, maybe you can use this month to decide how you’ll bring attention to the components of a heart-healthy lifestyle any time of the year.
The Nutrition Education Store has many products that make it easier for you to provide heart-healthy education for clients, students, and employees. While narrowing down the potential topics can be a challenge, the 4 Lessons to Lower Blood Pressure program is a great start.
Why high blood pressure education? Well, it’s a major preventable risk factor for heart disease. Yet the CDC says that nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, and only about 1 in 4 of those individuals has it under control.
Why 4 Lessons to Lower Blood Pressure? Let us count the ways...
1. Avoid overwhelm. There's a lot to cover when teaching about high blood pressure! The 4 Lessons are broken down into manageable chunks, making it easier for you to teach and your audience to digest. The sessions are:
- Introduction to High Blood Pressure
- Make the DASH
- Cut the Salt
- Get Moving to Lower Blood Pressure
2. Teach with confidence. All four lessons include engaging PowerPoint shows, with attention-getting visuals as well as speaker's notes. The leader guide PDF includes copy-ready handouts so your audience can take key messages home with them.
3. Appeal to everyone. Whether people in your audience have high blood pressure or want to prevent it, the information in the 4 Lessons will be applicable. The topics are also appropriate for general wellness, cardiac rehab, and diabetes education.
4. Support connections. We’re in the middle of what the U.S. Surgeon General calls an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. Bringing your clients or employees together to learn—whether it’s in person or on Zoom—is more important than ever!
Happy Heart Month!
Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD
Hollis Bass is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Reach her at HollisABB@gmail.com.