Virginia Department of Health Kicks Off American Heart Month with Activities to Promote Heart Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 1, 2023
Cheryle Rodriguez,

Virginia Department of Health Kicks Off American Heart Month with Activities to Promote Heart Health

(Richmond, Va.) — February is American Heart Month, and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will kick off the observance with free, easily accessible activities for all Virginians interested in beginning the process of improving their overall health. VDH has partnered with The Arthritis Foundation to offer Walk with Ease (WWE), a six-week program that provides guided activities and resources via the VDH Walk With Ease for Heart Health registration and resources online portal.

“Adding physical activity into our daily lives is one of the most important steps we can take to keep the heart healthy, said Patrick Wiggins, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention supervisor, Division of Prevention and Health Promotion. WWE participants will receive tools and an e-Book through the online portal that will provide instruction on how to exercise in ways that are safe and comfortable, whether participating as an individual or as part of a group.”

WWE is open to all Virginians. It runs from Wednesday, February 1 through Monday, March 6, 2023. The e-Book and resources are free and are available while supplies last.

VDH is also training community organizations to offer the CDC Healthy Heart Ambassador Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program. The four-month pilot program pairs participants with a program facilitator who teaches participants how to monitor their blood pressure and achieve healthy lifestyle changes.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of death in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Margaret Kadree, clinical specialist, Division of Prevention and Health Promotion. In 2019, heart disease became the number one leading cause of death in Virginia. “Preliminary analysis shows that heart disease will continue to be the leading cause of death for Virginians in 2022. “

To reduce risk for heart disease, VDH recommends the following tips.

  • Choose healthy meals and snacks.  Incorporate a lot of fruit and vegetables in your diet and choose foods lower in sodium and saturated fat. Click here for some heart healthy recipes and check out the MyPlate resources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Make physical activity a regular part of your day. It is recommended that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking, running, bicycling. Learn more about ways to increase your physical activity throughout the day here.
  • Take steps to quit smoking by contacting Quit Now Virginia, which offers free telephone or web-based counseling services and also offers Text2Quit support, self-help materials and referrals to local resources. 1-800- QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or learn more at the Quit Now Virginia Website.
  • Monitor your blood pressure. Read more about ways to prevent and manage blood pressure. Here are some helpful tips for talking with a doctor to manage and monitor your blood pressure.

Virginians are encouraged to also wear red on Friday, February 3rd for National Wear Red Day®, an annual observance that raises awareness about women and cardiovascular health.

For more information about heart disease, visit .