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American Heart + Black History Month

This month we celebrate both Black History Month and American Heart Month. Did you know that Black Americans have a higher risk of developing heart disease than non-Hispanic whites and other ethnic groups?(1) About half of all Americans have at least 1 out of 3 risk factors for heart disease.(2) Risk factors and lifestyle factors that can increase your risk for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, age, family history, diabetes, obesity, a diet high in saturated and trans fats, too little exercise, and excessive alcohol consumption.(2)

You can help prevent heart disease by knowing what risk factors you have; eating a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lean protein; get in 150 minutes per week of physical activity; do not smoke or stop smoking; manage your weight; and manage other health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.(3,4) You can check your risk with this online calculator from the American Heart Association. Check. Change. Control. Calculator(TM)


1. Der Ananian C, Winham D, Thompson S, Tisue M. Perceptions of heart-healthy behaviors among African American adults: a mixed methods study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Nov; 15(11): 2433.

3. American Heart Association website. Prevent heart disease and stroke. Accessed on January 31, 2022.

4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website. The nutrition source: preventing heart disease. Accessed on January 31, 2022.

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