Health department promotes heart awareness

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2004

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about maintaining a healthy heart, as far as the Lawrence County Health Department is concerned.

Maxine Lewis, coordinator of cardiovascular health programs, is doing her best to arm the community with a directory of information to help them keep their ticker ticking properly.

"The goal is to make the residents aware of their cardiovascular health," she said. "If you want to consider that the (highest) death rate in the state of Ohio is from cardiovascular health issues, it is something that everyone needs to be concerned about."

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Lewis is hoping to have the information directory completed by spring. It will contain a variety of information, including a list of agencies, hospitals, clinic, doctor's offices that provide cardio screening and treatment.

Another section will provide a list of walking paths and tracks that people can use to stay in shape.

"A lot of people are just not aware of where some of these places are," she said.

A key part of the directory will be the GOLD plate restaurants. The GOLD - Great Options in Low-fat Dining - will list restaurants in the county that provide healthy choices.

Information about nutrition and stopping smoking will also be included in the directories that will be placed at the health department, clinic, doctor's offices and more. Brochures will also be disturbed at schools, businesses and other public locations in the county.

Later this year, Lewis said she will continue to work with local schools to promote cardiovascular health at a young age.

Last week, the health department, the American Cancer Society and the Ohio Department of Health hosted a workshop on how to merge health hand academics in schools.

Thirty-five school nurses, food service professionals and health, physical education and science teachers from Gallia, Jackson and Lawrence counties attended.

The focus was the Coordinated School Health program that ties all a school's health programs together. Each professional service was split into focus groups tailored to their individual roles within the school.

In cooperation with the American Heart Association, the health department is also working on more activities for next month's National Hearth Month.