February American Heart Month: Tips from WSSU expert

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The risks of getting those diseases are even higher for African-Americans.

 Dr. Cynthia Williams Brown, chair of the Department of Health Physical Education and Sport Studies (HPSS) at Winston-Salem State University, offers these tips.

Educate Yourself

Making a change first starts with understanding your risk factors. High blood pressure, body mass index, high cholesterol and diabetes are contributing factor in overall heart health. A cardiovascular screening assessment can take as little as 30 minutes. Once you have the assessment, you can then begin to take the steps to improve your heart health.

Get Active

Being sedentary is bad for your heart. Moderate exercise, even 30 minutes a day, can make a difference. Also, there are a number of new smartphone applications and wearable sensors that have the potential to help people make healthier lifestyle choices. Check with your health provider, fitness instructor, registered dietitian or similar expert to help find an effective program.

Weight Matters

This month, WSSU researchers are launching Weight Matters, an 18-week program that will provide health screenings, exercise classes, incentives for participations and a small stipend for the completion of all required program activities. The program also focuses on the use of technology.

Dr. Williams Brown is the principal investigator for the program, which is funded through a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Health Services Research Grant Program. WSSU HPSS is partnering with Novant Health’s Forsyth Medical Center Community Wellness, WSSU University Recreation, the Winston Lake Family YMCA, Fulton Family YMCA, the Gateway YWCA and additional faith-based and community partners.

Dr. Williams Brown is available for media interviews. Please contact Jay Davis, director of media relations, at 336-750-3152 or davisjr@wssu.edu.

Dr. Cynthia Williams-Brown

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