If you asked a group of Latinas what threat to their health they most fear, what do you think most of them would answer? While most women are aware of breast cancer, many don?t know that cardiovascular disease and stroke are their number one and three killers.
Lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Latinas, and all women, need to increase their physical activity because studies show that they begin to become less active during teenage years - and tend to remain so later in life. A recent study found that very few women identify not exercising as a major cause for heart disease.
?Fortunately this is a problem we can do something about,? says Aliza Lifshitz, M.D., co-chair of the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate, Latino Media Committee. ?One of the best tools we can use to win the battle against these devastating diseases is taking control of our health. The American Heart Association and Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research developed the Choose To Move program to help busy women incorporate physical activity into their hectic schedules.?
The Choose To Move program is free and easy to follow. ?All you need is a good pair of walking shoes,? says Lifshitz. ?No gym membership or expensive equipment is required.?
Choose To Move is a self-paced, 12-week program. It encourages women to go through it in a weekly sequence to learn skills that will help them stay active and motivated. The goal is for each participant to meet the American Heart Association's recommendation for physical activity - to accumalate 30 minutes per day on five or more days a week.
?You can break your physical activity sessions into as few as three 10-minute segments. Research shows that short sessions that total 30 minutes can still give your body cardiovascular benefits,? noted Lifshitz.
More than 46,000 women participated in the program in 2002. Because cardiovascular disease is so prevalent in the Latino community, the American Heart Association wants to make a special invitation to Latinas to enroll in this free program.
?Latinas are always busy taking care of everyone else. It is time to take care of you also. I challenge each Latina to take advantage of this wonderful service,? concluded Lifshitz.
To learn more about Choose To Move, visit http://www.americanheart.org or call toll free 1-800-AHA-USA1.