American-Heart-Association-logoThe health of the United States has hit a new low with millions of Americans at risk for heart disease and stroke. Consequently, The American Heart Association (AHA) has set a lofty goal of improving the cardiovascular health of ALL Americans by at least 20 percent by the year 2020.

But they realize that this effort starts at home with individuals making healthier lifestyle choices, eating better and getting more physical activity. These individual decisions will not only impact our own health, but that of the next generation.

To support our efforts, the AHA and the American Stroke Association (ASA) are launching the My Heart. My Life. movement designed to change the way Americans – including children – think about their health.

“My Heart. My Life. is about embracing an overall healthier lifestyle to improve cardiovascular health,” said Cindy Stillman, AHA Coachella Valley Executive Director. “The most direct path to reducing the death and disability caused by heart disease and stroke is to prevent the development of the poor habits that increase the risk factors in the first place.”

Heart disease and stroke are two of the deadliest diseases in America. The My Heart. My Life. movement is a national rallying cry for change through simple behavior adjustments that help people feel better and live longer. The AHA/ASA have developed a number of activities under the campaign umbrella including increased health education for adults and kids, helping communities find ways to eat healthier and stay physically active, and advocacy for better public policy in important health areas such as anti-smoking laws.

“It’s never too late to start making heart healthy decisions, but someone has to point you in the right direction first,” says Stillman. “And that’s our objective – the objective of the American Heart Association.”

Where can you begin?

Start by visiting and completing the Life’s Simple 7® Action Plan. The educational checklist was designed by the AHA to deliver on the hope we all have–to live a long, productive and healthy life. The plan message is clear: any person can make these changes, the steps are not expensive to take, and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference. Start with just one or two steps and go from there.

Secondly, take part in the Coachella Valley Heart Walk at the Palm Desert Civic Park on November 2. The non-competitive, three-mile walk is open to everyone from friends and family members of all ages to local companies. There will educational booths, and nursing students from CSUSB Palm Desert Campus and College of the Desert will be providing blood pressure and heart rate checks. Visit to get involved.

“Changing how we eat and how we react to the simple choices that affect our health can stop heart disease,” adds Stillman. And it is these individual actions which will help the AHA reach their 2020 heartfelt goal.

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