SHEPHERDSVILLE - Along with Valentine’s Day, today is also Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. February is designated as American Heart Month.
The Bullitt County Health Department plans to further increase awareness, hosting the 4th annual Healthy Hearts Wear Red luncheon at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre.
Health educator Liz McGuire said the event will be the biggest to date, with twice as many vendors as the 2010 event.
“The word is getting out there more,” she said. “It’s getting bigger. People are more aware of their own bodies and they know it’s important not only for themselves but also for loved ones.”
According to McGuire, heart disease is the second-leading cause of death, behind cancer, in Bullitt County. She said heart disease could be developed or even inherited.
“If it’s in your family history then you’re prone to it,” she said. “But it can be developed through lifestyle and how you eat. Exercise and cholesterol levels are huge factors.”
Other risk factors McGuire mentioned included age, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and physical inactivity. She said poor stress management could also play a role.
“That’s why we’re doing this program, to just get the awareness out about heart disease,” she said.
The luncheon includes two guest speakers, along with emcee Sunny Stephens from Big Cat 105.5 Radio.
Teena Murray, director of sports performance with the University of Louisville, will discuss the incorporation of exercise into daily lives to help avoid heart disease.
Amy Oetken, a wellness coordinator with ValuMarket, will feature the importance of a nutritional diet.
Oetken will also present “The Power of Pumpkin,” focusing on the addition of pumpkin to the everyday diet.
“Pumpkin actually includes lots of daily essential vitamins,” McGuire mentioned. “Canned pumpkin is as good for you as fresh pumpkin.”
In honor of the pumpkin theme, the Bullitt County Homemakers will feature pumpkin spice cupcakes as dessert for the heart-healthy lunch.
“The Homemakers have helped us tremendously with the event,” McGuire said.
One of the biggest traditions at the luncheon is the fashion show, sponsored by Dress Barn. McGuire noted that the show would include red outfits to tie in with the day’s ‘wear red’ theme.
Exercise demonstrations will be presented courtesy of the Health Department, Bullitt County YMCA and Dance with Steve and Donna.
A new feature at this year’s event is free cholesterol screenings courtesy of Walgreens. McGuire said the first 30 people in attendance would be eligible for the screening.
Also new is the “giving component” donation. According to McGuire, anyone making a donation to the American Heart Association will receive a red heart necklace.
This year’s event will be dedicated in the memory of Carolyn Davis, last year’s opening speaker. McGuire said Davis suffered from heart disease and was an active member of the Bullitt County Healthy Hearts team.
A candlelight vigil will take place for Davis during the event.
The Healthy Hearts Wear Red luncheon takes place Thursday, Feb. 24, from 11 a.m to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Bullitt County Health Department, Bullitt County YMCA and ValuMarket in Mount Washington.
Tickets remain on sale through Thursday, Feb. 17. The $10 admission price includes lunch, a goodie bag and a t-shirt.
For more information call 955-5355 or visit www.bullittcountyhealthdept.com.