Friday marks the first day of February which is also the first day of American Heart Month. American Heart Month strives to raise awareness of the leading cause of death for both men and women, heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year nearly 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States. To put that figure in perspective, that is the equivalent of 1 in every 4 deaths!
As college students I’m sure most of you reading this might be thinking: “That’s good to know but what does that have to do with me? I’m a healthy young person!” Let me assure you it has everything to do with you. You’re never too young to take care of your heart. The health behaviors you develop during your college years can impact you later in life thus increasing or decreasing your risk of heart disease.
Many lifestyle choices and health conditions can increase one’s risk of heart disease such as diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use. Fortunately, UNC has a host of resources to help combat these risk factors and empower you to make healthier choices. Don’t believe me? See the examples below:
Example 1: No luck eating well on a budget? No problem!
Check out the Carolina Dining Services website for delicious and nutritious ways to eat well in college, or even schedule a free appointment with a nutritionist at Campus Health Services.
Example 2: Unmotivated to exercise? We got you covered!
Take a group fitness class with a friend or bike to class instead of taking the bus.
Example 3: Concerned about your alcohol use? Don’t fret!
Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of problem drinking, and learn small ways to reduce your chances of having alcohol-related problems.
In addition to the resources here at UNC, there is also a plethora of interesting and informative tools outside of our wonderful university, including information about Preventing Heart Disease – At Any Age, Heart Health Month: 8 Surprising Heart Facts We Learned Over The Last Year
and Wear Red Day Feb 1 2013.
CDC – DHDSP – Heart Disease Facts. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 11, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm