Go Red for Women to launch ‘Have Faith in Heart’ program

| February 7, 2014

By Ryan Johnson
The American Heart Association

FORT WAYNE—The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement is continuing to empower women by raising awareness and helping them make healthy lifestyle changes through its faith-based initiative “Have Faith in Heart.” The goal of the program is to reach women through their places of worship and have religious leaders and congregation members wear red and participate in education and awareness opportunities.

The program allows for outreach to all spiritual groups and will highlight the prevalence of heart disease and stroke in African American and Hispanic communities – which are at a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is when blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or higher. It affects one in three Americans and disproportionately impacts African Americans and Hispanics.

The Rev. Dr. Saharra Bledsoe

The Rev. Dr. Saharra Bledsoe

“The most critical health number could be the one you can’t see or feel,” said the Rev. Dr. Saharra Bledsoe, president of the NAACP in Fort Wayne. “High blood pressure is often called a silent killer because it’s easy to overlook or ignore until it’s too late. The truth is that high blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke and ironically, it is the number one controllable risk factor for these diseases.”

Dr. Bledsoe said she is a strong supporter of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement and is this year’s “Have Faith in Heart” Ambassador. She said she will be hand delivering “Have Faith in Heart” kits to area churches in Fort Wayne throughout February and March and also encouraging church members to participate in local Go Red For Women events including National Wear Red Day on Feb. 7.

The faith-based toolkit contains ideas and resources church leaders can use to conduct activities to promote heart health, campaign background information, heart health messages that can be used from the pulpit or in bulletins, faith-based resources and other promotional and educational materials.

The initiative is also another way the American Heart Association and its volunteers are working toward the overall goal of improving cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020.

“Thanks to the Have Faith in Heart program we have the opportunity to reach even more women in our community and ensure the message of prevention is being heard. We’re embracing our commitment to uplift while raising awareness about important health issues,” said the Rev. Bledsoe.

Here are a few reasons to Go Red:

• Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, yet only one in five American women believe heart disease is her greatest health threat. With the right information, education and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented, and even ended.

• One out of three women dies from heart disease.

• Nearly 460,000 women every year die from heart disease, this is about one woman per minute

• Every year since 1984 more women than men have died of cardiovascular diseases.

• 43 million American women are currently living with Cardiovascular disease

• Cardiovascular disease kills more women than the next four leading causes of death including all cancers

• Women who Go Red are more likely to make healthy choices

• Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease—risk factors very similar to those for stroke. Women who Go Red are more likely to make choices that help their heart health and brain health. Remember, actions to prevent heart disease also help prevent stroke

For any Go Red For Women information, contact Mary Pat Leonard at (260) 485-9890. Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and locally by Fifth Third Bank, GLO Magazine, WANE TV and WAJI Radio.

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Category: Health, Local

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.