Nominate Someone for a Lifestyle Change Award


Do you know someone whose health has greatly improved as a result of making long-term healthy lifestyle changes? Have you lost a lot of weight in the past year, started living healthier or know someone who has? The American Heart Association invites you to nominate yourself or a healthy friend for the Lifestyle Change Award.

The Westchester County Region of the American Heart Association is accepting nominations for their Lifestyle Change Award, sponsored locally by Merit Direct. The award honors individuals who have made positive changes to improve their quality of life and overall health.

Ideal candidates are people who have taken control of their health in areas of diet, exercise or tobacco cessation and seen positive results in weight, BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar. Winners will be recognized at the association’s Heart Walk on October 4th at Kensico Dam, Valhalla, NY.

To nominate an individual for a Lifestyle Change Award download the form at or by calling Jennifer Gelick at 203-295-2943. Application deadline is September 28th.

Heart Walk registration is open online at Corporate, community and family teams are welcome to register to walk for their own heart health and the funds raised will help other hearts in our community.

Achieving a heart healthy lifestyle starts with knowing your personal heart score, according to the AHA. To get a free measurement of your personal heart health, the American Heart AIMG_2376ssociation recommends focusing on seven heart health factors known as “Life’s Simple 7” to achieve ideal health. To find out where you stand on Life’s Simple 7 and to get an individualized action plan for improving your heart score, visit

The Heart Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway, and locally by Signature and Regional Chain of Survival Sponsor, Westchester Medical Center, National Walking Day sponsor New York-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, White Plains Hospital, Fuji Film, Merit Direct and Stop & Shop, and media sponsors Examiner Media, Westchester Magazine and 107.1 The Peak.

For more information about the Heart Walk or to start a team, please email or call 203-295-2943 To sign up your team online, visit


By |September 2nd, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Women Encouraged to Apply for BetterU Challenge

Applications are available for the 5th Annual BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation. The American Heart Association invites local women from Dutchess & Ulster counties to apply for the 12-week program designed to improve cardiovascular health through simple lifestyle changes.

Applications are being accepted now through October 12th to be one of the twelve women participants. Download the application at the

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.

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 February 26, 2016.

“For five years, Central Hudson has been committed to women’s health in the Hudson Valley through the BetterU program. Though there have been declines in heart disease deaths in the past 30 years, recent research demonstrates that death rates in young women under 55 only fell one per cent since 2000. There is more work to do on the prevention side,” said Denise Doring VanBuren, Vice President at Central Hudson.

According to new 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.

“Far too many women are still unaware that they can prevent heart disease and stroke. BetterU’s goal is to educate and empower women to live healthier,” she said.

Elizabeth Donahue from Poughkeepsie participated in the BetterU program last year and lost more than 30 pounds, crediting BetterU’s healthier lifestyle and regular exercise recommendations.

“The Better U program kick-started a life-changing experience for me! I am so grateful for the structure and support of the program that gave me the incentive and motivation to put myself first and work towards my health goals,” said Donahue, who, after BetterU competed and placed second in a national fitness challenge with Gold’s Gym, “Every woman should feel like they’re worth the time and effort to make healthy, positive changes towards a better version of themselves.”

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.

To download an application, deadline October 12th, visit For more information, contact Teresa Marra at 845-905-2134 or email

BetterU is sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, Health Quest Medical Practice, the Poughkeepsie Journal and Q92.1 FM. Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and locally by Health Quest, The Heart Center, MidHudson Regional Hospital, Q92.1 FM and the Poughkeepsie Journal.

By |August 31st, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

American Heart Launches September Family Health Challenge

LIW-FHC-2015-widget-imageIt’s that time of the year when parents get ready for September, shop for back-to-school supplies, and consider how it’s possible that their children’s feet grew that much in just a year. All this careful planning and preparation helps to ensure a happy return to school.

The American Heart Association (AHA) wants families to remember to also include healthy choices in their back-to-school plans, making sure that the healthy choice becomes the default choice at back-to-school time, and year-round.

To help raise awareness and make parents and caregivers more conscious of their lifestyle choices during Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the AHA is launching the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™. The goal is to help parents take back the “controls” when it comes to meals and healthy activities, and help them feel empowered to make small moderations in their lifestyle that will lead to bigger, heart-healthy changes down the road.

Today, about one in three American kids is considered overweight or obese, and there has been a sharp rise in obesity-related problems in children like type 2 diabetes, which is usually seen only in adults.

“When we look at heart disease statistics, the one that gets our attention is that 80 percent of heart disease and stroke can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes like eating healthy and exercising more,” said AHA Putnam Board President, Patrick W. Thomas, MD, MBA, FACC, FAHA, Chief of Cardiology at Hudson Valley Hospital Center, “The Life is Why Family Health Challenge was crafted to give families simple, quick, and fun weekly strategies to get healthier and prevent heart disease from a young age. These four categories will make a big impact on family health.”

The Challenge is broken down into four themed weeks on the American Heart Association Facebook page, listed as an event, and offers free tools and resources throughout the week in the forum. This online group also allows parents and caregivers to support and connect during the challenge.

The four-week challenge includes:

  • Week 1 –“My Cart is Why”– The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of fruit and vegetable servings every day. Learn how to increase your fruit and veggie consumption on a budget.  Make shopping a fun and easy activity for you and your kids.
  • Week 2 – My Glass is Why” – Sugary drinks can cost you your energy and your health, don’t let others sugarcoat your future and let’s make sugary drinks a thing of the past without feeling thirsty.
  • Week 3 – “My Taste is Why” – Most adults eat more than double the amount of sodium recommended by the AHA. Tame your taste buds by reducing the sodium in your foods and on your plate.  Be sodium aware…if you dare!
  • Week 4 – “My Movement is Why” – AHA recommends kids get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every day. Make physical activity fun, simple and memorable with your family.  Quick activities that easily integrate into your daily life – no matter your schedule.

Free online activities and templates will help families live healthier without adding extra time to their schedules. To join the American Heart Association, and families across the country, in the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™, visit


By |August 27th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Summer is Why

Family Beach Summer tipsSummer can bring many happy memories—family vacations, summer camp, days at the shore, staying up late and watching the sun set.  No matter what your summer traditions include, be sure to keep in mind your heart and brain health throughout the longer daylight hours.

According to the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association, heart disease and stroke remain the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in the U.S., yet 80 percent of these diseases are preventable with simple lifestyle modifications.  Summer is the perfect time to enjoy heart-healthy seasonal produce and to add physical activity to your daily routine, but remember to take precautions when spending time by the water and when exercising in the heat.

Here are the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association’s top 10 tips for a heart-healthy summer:

  1. Learn Hands-Only CPR. Days by the pool and ocean can be fun, but always be prepared for the unthinkable. Hands-Only CPR has only two steps: If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, 1) Call 9-1-1, and 2) Press hard and fast in the center of the chest. See a short video by visiting
  2. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) throughout the day and before, during and after working out to maintain salt-water balance. Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
  3. Exercise smarter, not harder. Plan your workout for the cooler parts of the day—either early morning or early evening when the sun’s radiation is at its least. If you must exercise during the hottest part of the day or in high humidity, decrease exercise intensity and duration. And remember, you can get a great workout indoors by going to a gym or walking at the mall.
  4. Veggie Kabobs. Take advantage of fresh seasonal veggies from your local farmer’s markets. Load up skewers with mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash or other veggies. Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and grill until lightly blackened.
  5. Pack to play. When taking a family road trip, plan to incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine. Pack a football, soccer ball, Frisbee or paddle ball so that you can be physically active while away.
  6. Fruit pops. Homemade freezer pops are an easy, fun treat for kids to make and enjoy. Mash up fruit like peaches, grapes, berries or watermelon and put into paper cups, insert a popsicle stick and freeze overnight.
  7. Protect yourself from the sun. Wear wide-brimmed hats, always apply water resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
  8. Head indoors. When the heat gets unbearable, try indoor activities at your local YMCA or rec center like basketball, swimming, yoga or racquetball.
  9. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

 Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • headaches
  • heavy sweating
  • cold, moist skin, chills
  • dizziness or fainting
  • a weak and rapid pulse
  • muscle cramps
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • nausea, vomiting or both

If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down immediately by dousing yourself with cold water and rehydrating. You may need to seek medical attention.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • warm, dry skin with no sweating
  • strong and rapid pulse
  • confusion and/or unconsciousness
  • high fever
  • throbbing headaches
  • nausea, vomiting or both

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. The heart-healthy choices you make today can help you enjoy many more summers to come.  Summer is why.  And life.  Life is why.  For more tips on staying active and healthy this summer, visit

By |July 14th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments