Ready, set, walk! Get ready to lace up your sneakers as the V.I. Health Department and the GVI wellness programs join forces to host a “Heart 2 Heart Walk” to honor American Heart Month. The walk is to raise awareness of cardiovascular health and make heart-healthy choices.
“We are partnering with the Department of Personnel who have an initiative with GVI wellness programs for this walk to encourage all the active Cigna government employees that are registered to come out and celebrate with us for American Heart Month. Through the Department of Health, we are also inviting the community to come out and celebrate American Hearth Month as well,” said Diabetes Program Manager David Delgado.
Delgado said that their goal is 200 participants per event and they seemed to have already met their goal on St. Thomas as the event is currently sold out on Eventbrite for that location.
On St. Thomas, the “Heart 2 Heart Walk” will begin and end at Crown Bay Center on Friday, and on St. Croix, the walk will be on Friday, Feb. 9, and will begin and end at the D.C. Canegata Recreational Complex. Check-in for both walks will start at 5 p.m., and the event will begin at 6 p.m. Registration is still open for St. Croix and can be completed by clicking here.
Those who register will receive a shirt and government employees should register on the GVI website.
The walk is a silent walk with headphones and is expected to be a fun and creative way to come out and move. Participants should also bring their identification to receive their headphones.
Based on a recent community health assessment conducted by the VIDOH, the leading causes of death in the U.S. Virgin Islands were heart disease, cancer, homicide, and unintentional injuries. In 2017, the top cause of premature death was homicide, and the second was heart disease, with 1,080.8 years of potential life lost before the age of 75 per 100,000 residents.
According to the DOH website, some preventative measures for preventing heart disease can be:
- Get moving: physical activity makes your heart stronger.
- Halt the salt: compare labels and choose less sodium in the foods you and your family eat.
- Eat lean and green: Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins (fish, chicken, turkey) and low-fat dairy, and limit the red meat and butter.
- Get your blood pressure checked and follow your doctor’s treatment plan if you have high blood pressure.
- Drink in moderation: Alcohol can raise your risk for high blood pressure. Women should have no more than one drink per day, and men should have no more than two drinks per day.
- Quit smoking.
“Being able to create this walk with the Department of Personnel creates opportunities in the community to encourage living a healthy lifestyle by being able to work out. Also recognizing that heart disease is around us and being able to take care of our heart and our community,” said Delgado.