The American Heart Association invites women to “fall into” a healthier lifestyle through the BetterU Challenge. The AHA invites all women to apply for the 6th Annual BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation. The 12-week program is designed to improve cardiovascular health through simple lifestyle changes and prevent heart disease—women’s number one killer. The program is part of the Go Red For Women Luncheon, which is moving from its usual February timeframe to the fall.small betteru logo

Applications are being accepted now through June 24th to be one of the twelve women participants. Download the application at the http://dutchessulstergored.heart.org.

BetterU is a free health, nutrition and fitness program that can help all women make better lifestyle choices. Each week focuses on a different area of heart health and provides step-by-step guidance to help women transform their overall health through small lifestyle changes.

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Elizabeth Donahue, “before BetterU” photo

The 12 women selected for the program will receive a three-month membership and personal training at Gold’s Gym, medical evaluation from Health Quest Medical Practice, and free health seminars from local health experts. The BetterU participants will chronicle their journey on a special blog, and be celebrated at the annual Go Red for Women luncheon on October 28th.

“Central Hudson continues to support women’s health in the Hudson Valley through the BetterU program. Heart disease is still the number one killer of women but prevention through simple lifestyle changes can save women’s lives,” said Denise Doring VanBuren, Vice President of Public Relations at Central Hudson, “For five years, we have witnessed women’s lives radically changed for the better because of this program. We invite women to put their health first on their to-do lists by applying for BetterU.”

According to research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, deaths from heart disease have declined dramatically over the last few decades but young people, particularly women, are not sharing equally in that improvement. Researchers believe a lack of effective preventive strategies for young people, particularly women, is to blame, and they call for more research into non-traditional risk factors for this understudied group, like stress and obesity.

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Elizabeth Donahue fall 2015 “After BetterU’

Heart disease and stroke takes the life of one in three women — almost one woman every minute. More women than men die of heart disease and stroke. Research shows that 80 percent of cardiac events in women are preventable with simple lifestyle choices involving diet, exercise and avoiding smoking.

The 2015 BetterU winner, Elizabeth Donahue of Poughkeepsie, lost 31 lbs. in the program and continues her healthy regimen today, participating in the popular Spartan Races, fitness challenges through Gold’ Gym, and tackling indoor high ropes courses. Though not the primary goal of the program, but a healthy side effect of exercising daily and eating healthier, her total weight loss since beginning BetterU is now over 70 pounds. She credits BetterU as the catalyst for her new healthier lifestyle, and praises Gold’s Gym trainers for inspiring her to keep going.

“In the beginning it was hard. I was mindlessly eating. I was sore from working out,” she said, “BetterU showed me what I was capable of. I realized I was so much stronger than I ever thought I could be, much stronger than I was.”

To download an application, deadline June 24th, visit http://dutchessulstergored.heart.org. For more information, contact Teresa Marra at 845-867-5377 or email Teresa.marra@heart.org.

BetterU is sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, Health Quest Medical Practice, the Poughkeepsie Journal and Q92. Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and locally by Health Quest, The Heart Center, Q92 and the Poughkeepsie Journal.