Did We Make a Community-Wide Impact with the Healthy Hearts?

Yes we definitely did!  The fourth annual “Healthy Hearts on the Move” event was held on March 5th and drew more than 560 people – over 200 more than last year!  This fantastic crowd, which spanned all ages, were treated to a wide variety of activities focused on embracing healthy lifestyles to improve heart health.  It was such a pleasure to be there to see the excitement of those coming in and the enjoyment on the faces of those headed out. Amidst all the fun, there were some key take-aways that we can each adopt into our own lives to improve our own health.

Physical activity can be fun, challenging, and relaxing.  Northwestern Lifestyle Medicine helped attendees explore yoga and Northwestern Rehab Services helped attendees experiment with strengthening activities using exercise balls. Participants seemed to enjoy the opportunity to pause and be active in two very different ways that both contribute to heart health. 

Children love to be physically active.  Northwestern Counseling & Support Services and Building Bright Futures co-hosted activities for children and young families and the response was fantastic.  The gym was filled with action and laughter through the entire event.  The kids were so engaged in both the formal activities and the less-structured opportunities for play.  We are so thankful for the efforts of our community partners to bring such positive energy  to our young attendees.

Not all muffins are created equal.  NMC’s Restaurant & Catering team partnered with NMC’s Registered Dietitians to demonstrate that there can be a big difference in the health content of seemingly similar treats.  NMC’s Chef and her team prepared delicious blueberry muffins that people raved about.  Many attendees were then surprised to find out from our Dietitian that those muffins had a fraction of the calories contained in muffins prepared in traditional ways!  Eating a bit healthier often means making smarter choices in what foods you buy or how you cook.

Sugary beverages carry an amazing amount of sugar.  NMC’s Certified Diabetes Educator consistently wowed both youth and adults with a look inside how much sugar is actually in a typical soda or other kinds of sugary beverages.  Would you put 19 teaspoons of sugar in a glass of anything and drink it?  Almost no one would – especially after counting out 19 teaspoons, and so it was shocking to many to find that’s the amount in a 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew!  Suddenly the concern over sugary beverages and obesity was much clearer to many!

Good dental health and good heart health are both important to good overall health.  We were thrilled to be joined by staff from Associates for Dental Care, Fiddlehead Dental, and NOTCH Dental at this year’s event.  While there isn’t a definitively proven link between the two, there are studies which show people with gum disease are likely to have heart disease, likely because healthy gums and healthy hearts both face the same risk factors, such as smoking and diabetes. 

Preventive screenings are important.  We offeedr a range of free preventive screenings at Healthy Hearts on the Move, checking individuals’ blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.  We were able to identify concerns again this year and refer people to their Primary Care provider for appropriate follow-up.  Early detection of concerns and proper treatment is key to good health. 

The RiseVT smoothie bikes are a hit everywhere they go!  There was a never-ending supply of willing pedalers to keep churning out delicious smoothies on the bikes at the RiseVT display.  Many attendees took the opportunity to learn more about RiseVT and complete their individual scorecard to get a snapshot in time of their health habits and what they can do to embrace a healthier lifestyle.  You can do so too by visiting us online at www.RiseVT.com

It was so encouraging to see a record-setting crowd at this year’s event.  That really shows that healthier lifestyles are gaining traction in our community.  I want to thank all our attendees, all our partners and exhibitors, our gracious hosts at St. Albans City School, and the Healthy Hearts’ organizers for putting on such a great event!  It is wonderful to see a community on the rise as we come together to celebrate better health!

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer