February was declared American Heart Month by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on February 10. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. In Sacramento County the heart disease mortality rate is 170.4 per 100,000 people. County Public Health, along with several community partners, is diligently working to lower heart disease and other chronic diseases in the Sacramento community.
The Division of Public Health’s Chronic Disease Prevention Program continuously educates the public about the importance of good nutrition and how it can affect health. Additionally, working with the SNAP-Ed program, which is implemented with schools and community organizations brings nutrition education and physical activity programs. Public Health is also part of the Design 4 Active Sacramento team, whose goal is to improve public health by shaping the built environment to support walking, biking and other healthy activities.
Individuals can make great strides in affecting their own health. Obesity is one of the most common risk factors leading to chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure. The good news is that each of us can take steps to reach and/or maintain a healthy weight. The first step is to assess your current weight.
There are multiple ways to determine if you are in a healthy weight range. One way is to calculate body mass index (BMI). For most people, BMI is a reliable indicator of body’s fat content based on height and weight. Try this BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. If your BMI falls between 18.5 and 24.9 it is within “healthy weight” range. If your BMI is above 24.9, it might be time to make some lifestyle changes such as enhancing nutrition and increasing physical activity. Maintaining a healthy diet including fruit, vegetables, and lean protein is the first step in reaching and keeping a healthy weight. Choosemyplate.gov has great tips for healthy eating and how to build a healthy meal.
Creating a healthy Sacramento takes both individual and community effort. Make a commitment today to choosing healthier foods and activities.