American Heart Month 2017: Change Starts with a Heart-to-Heart
This Year's Focus
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women and men, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths in the United States. Nearly half of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, or an unhealthy diet. Risk also increases with age.
The good news is that individuals of all ages can reduce their risk for heart disease by making lifestyle changes and managing medical conditions through appropriate treatment plans. With a record number of young adults living at home or in close contact with older relatives, they have a golden opportunity to encourage parents and other family members to make heart-healthy changes and offer support along the way.
That’s why, for American Heart Month 2017, Million Hearts® is calling on younger Americans to spread prevention messages. We believe young adults have the power to engage their parents in crucial conversations about heart disease prevention that can result in heart-healthy behavior changes.
Encourage young adults to have a heart-to-heart throughout the month of February and beyond. Ideas to get you started:
Follow Million Hearts® on Facebook (@millionhearts) and Twitter (@MillionHeartsUS) to get #HeartToHeart messages to share or retweet.
Use these key messages in original social media posts and other communications materials:
- Find a time to talk. Talking with your loved ones about heart disease can be awkward, but it’s important. In fact, it could save a life. At the dinner table, in the car, or even via text, have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones about improving heart health as a family.
- Encourage healthy eating habits. Even small changes can make a big difference. Suggest making healthier versions of your favorite family recipes. Look up new recipes, then accompany your loved ones on a grocery store run. Help them choose items low in sodium, added sugar, and trans fats, and make sure they stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Promote physical activity. Encourage your family members to aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Offer to join them for a walk, bring them to an exercise class, or challenge the whole family to a friendly fitness competition.
- Show support. Someone who feels supported is more likely to quit smoking. Have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones about tobacco use.
- Check in on health care. Remind family members to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly by a health care provider. Are they already on medication to control their risk factors? Help family members set up a reminder system using a phone app or pillbox.
Join us for the following Twitter chats to learn more about heart disease prevention.
February 7, 2017; 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET
February 16, 2017; 12:00–3:00 p.m. ET
- Hashtags: #HeartHealth, #SharecareTalks
- Host: @SharecareInc
- Topic: Heart disease facts, risk factors, and prevention
February 24, 2017; 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET
Share the social media content below on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- During American Heart Month this February, have a #HeartToHeart with your mom or dad and make a plan to lower their risk for heart disease. These conversation starters can help. http://bit.ly/2jL42dk
- Small steps make a big difference when it comes to heart health. Have a #HeartToHeart w/ loved ones about ways to improve their health. Step 1: Start the conversation. http://bit.ly/2jL42dk
- What’s the best way to have a #HeartToHeart? First, learn your communication style! Get personalized tips for how to talk to your loved ones about preventing heart disease. http://bit.ly/2jFG0Bt
- Someone who feels supported is more likely to quit smoking for good. Have a #HeartToHeart with your loved ones about tobacco use. Tips from SmokeFreeUS [tag]: http://bit.ly/29S9ifc
- Have a #HeartToHeart with your family about healthier eating habits. Looking for healthy meals you can share? Find new recipes to try. http://bit.ly/2lPXg8F
- Set fitness goals and have a #HeartToHeart with your family about meeting them together. Check out this CDC [tag] physical activity guide and find inspiring ways to get moving! http://bit.ly/2a8rYsd
- Have a #HeartToHeart w/ your loved ones about improving heart health. Get tips from @MillionHeartsUS. http://bit.ly/2jL42dk #HeartMonth
- Make your #HeartToHeart on healthy living less awkward. Find your communication style w/ this @MillionHeartsUS quiz. http://bit.ly/2jFG0Bt
- Help your loved ones quit smoking for good. Show support with a #HeartToHeart. Tips from @Smokefreegov: http://bit.ly/29S9ifc
- Help your fam take steps toward healthy hearts. Have a #HeartToHeart about physical activity w/ this @CDCgov guide. http://bit.ly/2a8rYsd
- Have a #HeartToHeart w/ family about healthy eating. Visit the @MyPlate recipe library to find healthful meals. http://bit.ly/2lPXg8F
- Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the US. Have a #HeartToHeart about lowering risks w/ facts from @CDCgov. http://bit.ly/2hW7UaL
Click on each file to download and save it to your device.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest
GIFs for Twitter, Facebook, and more
Promote the “What’s Your Communication Style?” quiz. This quick quiz uncovers your communication style and provides advice on starting a heart-to-heart with loved ones about heart disease prevention.
CDC Feature Article
Read and share “6 reasons to talk to your family about heart disease.”
Additional Resources and Events
Find links to educational resources for consumers and professionals from CDC and Million Hearts®.