A focus on heart health

September 2013…Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of 1 in 4 Americans each year, according to a 2009 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventive care and heightened awareness of risk factors and symptoms can significantly improve outcomes for individuals at risk of heart disease or a heart attack.

Healthy NewsWorks intends to tackle the tough topic of heart health with a focused initiative during 2013-14. Student journalists from around the Philadelphia area will report on topics such as:

  • What is heart disease and how can it be prevented?
  • How do sugar, fatty foods, and smoking affect your heart?
  • What is the role of physical activity in preventing heart disease?

Through school newspapers, special reports, and videos, Healthy NewsWorks journalists will share information about how to prevent cardiovascular problems. By promoting nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation with peers and family, students can raise awareness about simple steps that can contribute to a healthier heart.

“With all the health issues facing young people today, it is important that they get relevant cardiovascular information,” said Martha E. Morse, executive director of The Edna G. Kynett Memorial Foundation, which is the major supporter of the Heart-Healthy Project. “This project is a good way to help children learn the importance of establishing healthy habits while they are young. It is also a great opportunity for them to begin advocating for issues that are important to them. ”

The focus on heart health will complement the school-specific health news reported by each school media program. In addition to the regular publication of newspapers during the school year, Healthy NewsWorks journalists will have the opportunity to produce a public service announcement to share with their schools and communities. Through these communications, students will build their knowledge about cardiovascular health and help educate others about the importance of early prevention and detection of heart disease. The Heart-Healthy Project is also supported in part by the Elsie Lee Garthwaite Memorial Foundation.

–Beth Hodge


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