IDPH Faith-Based Million Hearts® Initiative

February is American Heart Month

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is launching its new Faith-Based Million Hearts® Initiative during American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is the nation’s number one cause of death. However, it can be prevented in some cases by making healthy choices and managing heart conditions.
“To help more people learn about heart healthy steps they can take and to support communities working to become healthier, IDPH is launching its Faith-Based Million Hearts® Initiative ‘Love to Love Your Heart,’” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Many people look to their faith-based organizations for information, support, and encouragement. By offering healthy heart education and tips on lowering the risk of heart disease, we hope to reduce the number of people who die from heart disease and stroke.”

The goal of “Love to Love Your Heart” is to enlist 50-faith-based organizations statewide to support the national goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by the end of 2017. Each participating organization will hold four activities over the next year that focus on heart disease and stroke education and prevention. Those activities may include starting a community garden, organizing a walking/biking/yoga/exercise group, hosting a healthy cooking demonstration, or incorporating heart healthy messages in programs, bulletins, inserts, and newsletters.

“It is so important to educate our congregation about heart disease and what they can do to prevent it, and the resources that are available to them to help them live a quality life,” said Total Faith Community Church Advocate Georgia McKinney. “We hope this initiative helps us to grow spiritually, as well as physically and mentally. Our Pastor is excited about this initiative for our congregation and our community.”

Faith-based organizations interested in learning more or signing up can call IDPH at 217-785-4311. For more information on heart disease and stroke, log onto the IDPH website.