Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Show Your Heart Some Love This Month

Today starts American Heart Month.  It’s an annual ritual that reminds us to take stock of our heart health by knowing our numbers, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, as well as eating right and exercising.

National Wear Red Day is Friday, Feb. 3.

On my way to a meeting this morning I almost had a fender bender because of reading while driving. No, I wasn’t texting or looking at my GPS. I was horrified by the new billboard on I-83 North. Cute little Suzie Utz is pandering to our comfort food weaknesses when she says, “The way to this city’s heart is through its stomach.” I guess my outrage meter was already a little elevated because I had just seen a television commercial where Dunkin' Donuts is marketing heart-shaped donuts as a way to let our loved ones know how much we care about them.

There are physiologic effects to eating foods high in salt and sugar that include the release of certain “pleasure” hormones _ the same hormones the body releases during sex. The big food conglomerates are fully aware of this, and they bombard us with messages that mislead us into thinking that high fat and calorie foods are synonymous with love. Don’t be misled – this is not the same joy we derive from eating ‘comfort foods’ that remind us of our grandmothers.

If you really love someone, have the courage to take away the potato chips and donuts. Spend time outdoors together enjoying the health benefits that nature has to offer. Talk about supporting each other in living a healthier life.

I don’t believe the long-term picture is as bleak as some would paint it. But Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was correct earlier today when she said government alone cannot fix the obesity crisis. We all play a role, and it starts with modeling good heart health behaviors for our children.

So what steps will you take this month to improve your heart health? For information about upcoming screenings and quitting smoking, a good place to start is our Website, There you’ll also find a video of the Mayor’s remarks from City Hall today.

Take care, B’more.

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