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Get heart fit with new program

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Stephanie Bell Flynt | email

News Release

JACKSON (LT GOV OFFICE) - With a vision to help create a healthier future for Mississippians, Lt Governor Phil Bryant along with other state leaders launched a new program today that challenges people to improve cardiovascular health.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Mississippi is one of 15 states using this online, interactive program that allows people to plan, track and gain rewards from new nutrition and fitness choices. The Lieutenant Governors' Challenge includes a 12-week program, where participants can earn points by doing everyday activities like walking or housework.

Each person who meets the point goals receives a medal. Signing up is easy and completely free of charge. To visit the site, go to: www.ltgovernorschallenge.us.

"Nearly one in every three people in the United States has cardiovascular disease," Bryant said. "More people die each day of heart related disease than die of cancer, HIV/AIDS and accidents combined. Yet many of the greatest cardiovascular risk factors can be controlled by your own personal choices.

"Today I am issuing a new challenge to the residents of Mississippi.  The Lieutenant Governors' Challenge will help people learn about ways to eat healthier, reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and assist them in tracking their progress towards better health."

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in America. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, heart disease risk is lowered by as much as 82 percent simply by adopting sensible health habits.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mississippi has the highest obesity rate in the country, now 32.8 percent. In addition, Mississippi ranks first in fatalities from heart disease and stroke. These are real problems that affect our communities and loved ones around us.    

While the national healthcare debate continues, Mississippians must be ever mindful of the issues we face right here at home and how we can approach healthcare more proactively according to Lt. Governor Bryant.

"You can choose healthy habits to help prevent cardiovascular disease: eat a healthy diet, get regular physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight. Your heart is in your hands, and I challenge the citizens of Mississippi to take the Lt. Governors' Challenge and begin living a healthier, longer life," stated Bryant. 

Lieutenant Governor Bryant has partnered with leading health organizations and others to help promote the Lieutenant Governor's Challenge and heart health education.

Joining the Lt. Governor were the Mississippi State Medical Association, American College of Cardiology-Mississippi Chapter, Mississippi Diabetes Foundation, Mississippi Department of Health, American Heart Association, and the Institutions of Higher Learning.

"Thousands of Mississippians are at an unhealthy weight - this is clearly a major risk factor for heart disease and the cause of high blood pressure and diabetes in most people with these diseases," said Debbie Minor, Pharm.D. and board member for the American Heart Association's Greater Southeast Affiliate.

Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds added: "Mississippi's universities are already promoting healthier lifestyles by offering more foods that are nutritious and activities that encourage physical fitness. The Lieutenant Governors' Challenge will help our campuses make a deeper commitment to healthy living, and it is my hope that all of our faculty, staff and students set examples by participating."

The Mississippi Lieutenant Governors' Challenge is made possible by Lt. Governor Bryant and the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) (www.nlga.us).  This makes Mississippi one of fifteen states which will be rolling out the program with the National Lt. Governors Association.          

# # #

Resources: 

Lieutenant Governors' Challenge:  www.ltgovernorschallenge.us

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture:  http://www.mypyramid.gov/

AHA:  http://www.americanheart.org

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