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Start! Aims to Make Americans Healthier


A new campaign by the American Heart Association is aimed at getting more people to exercise and eat more healthfully. Michele Skalicky has more on the Start! campaign...

The American Heart Association is on a mission to fight obesity and get people moving through a new campaign. It's part of their effort to combat cardiovascular disease.

Start! is a national movement aimed at Companies and their employees.

Go online to heart.org/start, and you'll hear from an individual, maybe similar to you, who wants to make changes to move towards a healthier lifestyle.

Karl Schmidt, regional director for the American Heart Association, says they hope to create a culture of physical activity and wellness in the workplace, which in the long run will help employees live longer and also help companies' bottom lines by decreasing healthcare costs.

There's a walking program that motivates people to form small walking teams and there's the lifestyle change award.

"Which is an award we hand out to people that have made a change in their lifestyle over the past year. One of the recipients last year had lost approximately 75 pounds over the year, and pretty much any company that is participating in the Start! program can nominate 2 or 3 employees, friends, family, co-workers, whoever's really made a lifestyle change. And it doesnn't need to be anybody that's lost a bunch of weight, it can be someone that's lowered their blood pressure, lowered their cholesterol, quit smoking, anything like that that's been a real strong lifestyle change."

The heart Walk is another component of Start! It will take place locally April 12th at the Cox South Field. Participants are asked to raise money for research and education of cardiovascular disease.

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Then there's the My Start! Online tool.

"That's an online portion where people that are participating in Start! can use it as a fitness tracker or a nutrition tracker. They can put in there what they've eaten and it'll compute the calories and so forth. You can put in there how you've exercised and it'll compute those calories and you can kind of compare 'am I burning more than I'm intaking?' It'll also send you reminders and e-mails, different things that you can do to change your lifestyle and also encourage you along the way."

While Start! is geared towards companies and their employees,

Schmidt says anyone can sign up for free to use the My Start! Online tool. Just go to heart.org/start.

According to Schmidt, sedentary lifestyles are increasing, healthcare costs are on the rise, obesity is a huge epidemic and the American Heart Association knew it needed to do something about it. That's why Start! was created...

"One of the kernels that they've found that can really help you out is that you can gain 2 hours to your life for every one hour of vigorous exercise, and even getting up and moving as little as 30 minutes a day can really help you turn the corner to moving to a healthier lifestyle."

Nearly 60 companies locally are participating in the Start! program including Missouri State University.

Employers interested in joining the program can go to americanheart.org or call 881-1121.

For KSMU news, I'm Michele Skalicky.


Links:

  • Start!