On the first Friday of each February, THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION (AHA) urges Americans to wear red to raise awareness about women’s heart health. Each year, women from all walks of life heed the call, donning red outfits and accessories, or sporting the AHA’s GO RED FOR WOMEN pin.
Yet after GO RED DAY, many women once again forget to take action for heart health. This dangerous lack of awareness is why the HEALTHY MONDAY INITIATIVE is urging Americans to go beyond Go Red Day and sport something red every Monday.
Why Monday? Evidence suggests that the start of the week may be the most effective day to reach people with health messages. A nationwide survey conducted by FGI Research found that most of us see Monday as the day for a fresh start: it’s when we’re most likely to quit smoking, start a diet or begin an exercise regimen. What’s more, recent investigations found that Google searches for health information consistently jump at the beginning of the week.
According to the AHA, nearly half of American women do not know that heart disease is their No. 1 killer, and less than half know the best blood pressure and cholesterol levels for cardiovascular health. Making red visible on Mondays could help sound the alarm and keep heart health ever present in the lives of American women.
HEALTHY MONDAY is an initiative of THE MONDAY CAMPAIGNS, a nonprofit organization founded in 2005, in association with JOHNS HOPKINS, COLUMBIA and SYRACUSE UNIVERSITIES. HEALTHY MONDAY uses weekly recommitment campaigns to help people stop smoking, lose weight, stick with an exercise program and adopt other healthy behaviors and lifestyle changes.
“If more women wear red every Monday and share the reason with other women they meet, they can ignite a viral movement,” says HEALTHY MONDAY FOUNDER, SID LERNER. “If every Monday each woman tells two friends, and they tell two friends, pretty soon women all over the country will have this lifesaving information. And, with Facebook, Twitter, texting, women have powerful tools to share this message with those they love.”
This week, the organization recommends starting with these 10 tips for staying heart healthy during GO RED MONDAYS and throughout the year:
- Really quit this time. Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease, so commit to Quit & Stay Quit every Monday.
- Boost the exercise you get each week — form a Monday Mile club with your friends. Wear red accessories to signal your support for heart health.
- If you drink, do so in moderation. Research suggests that the occasional glass of red wine can be beneficial to heart health.
- If you need to lose weight, even a 5-10% reduction can improve your overall health. Keep a food journal– a red notebook!– and check your progress every Monday.
- Cut the saturated fat in your diet, decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. Cut back by starting the week with a Meatless Monday.
- High-fiber diets can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, body weight, and a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. Get 25 grams per day — fill up on apples, strawberries, tomatoes, whole grains, beans and nuts.
- Limiting sodium helps prevent high blood pressure. Check food labels, tie a red ribbon around your salt shaker so you think twice before using.
- Minimize stress as it can lead to health problems like high blood pressure. Come up with a plan at the start of each week to limit tense situations.
- Remind yourself to take action each week by sticking a Go Red dress pin on your jacket, hat, handbag, or wherever you will see it most frequently.
- Understanding your risk factors is one of the keys to preventing heart problems. If you haven’t been to the doctor in the past year, make an appointment this Monday. While you’re there, ask your doctor to support Go Red by wearing a red dress pin on his or her coat or lapel. And, pass these tips on to two friends.
Other initiatives of The Monday Campaigns include MEATLESS MONDAY, THE KIDS COOK MONDAY, MOVE IT MONDAY, QUIT & STAY QUIT MONDAY, CAREGIVER MONDAY, and MAN UP MONDAY.
SOURCE: The Monday Campaigns