Local effort to help decrease the number of Heart Disease deaths

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - This is World Heart Day. Heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women. The City of Toledo and the Lucas County Health Department teamed up with local health care providers to host a community event today to try to change that statistic.

Today's community event at the ProMedica Ebeid Institute in downtown Toledo included screenings, flu shots and education. Eric Zgodzinski is the Lucas County Health Commissioner,"We're building strong partnerships and collaborations that this community desperately needs to help springboard us to better health."

Sara Hegarty is the Executive Director of the local chapter of the American Heart Association,"We have big issues to tackle and that's why I love events like today. We are spreading awareness and that's where it starts."

Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson says a new report focusing on our region shows many of us continue to face a number of serious health issues, "A health survey was just released we have too many indicators that are not healthy. Childhood obesity, heart disease, asthma all things plaguing our community."

When it comes to helping the community get healthy Mayor Hicks-Hudson has been hosting weekly walks around the city. She says exercise is part of the reason she's lost a significant amount of weight since the beginning of the year, "I have lost 20 pounds and its been a combination of watching my diet and walking."

Sara Hegarty says that's good advice for many of us, and it can be a gradual process, "Add more fruits and vegetables to your plate. Eat cleaner and greener and not so much processed food. Start with a ten minute walk and then you can build up to 20 minutes and then 30 minutes."

Zgodzinski says moderation is key when it comes to diet,"We're not saying you can't have cheese pizza, but have it in moderation. Instead of eating the whole pizza in one day eat it over three days."

About 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. That's an average of one death every forty seconds.