Occupational Health Services Plans to Make February a Healthy, Heart-y Month

By Emily Burnett and Erin Currie, OHS Student Interns; photos by Richard Frederickson, Staff Photographer
Photo of an activity at the 2017 Healthy Heart Month Kickoff

Last year’s Healthy Heart Month Kickoff featured a game and a photo booth.

In celebration of American Heart Month this February, Occupational Health Services (OHS) is hosting multiple events to promote heart health and raise awareness about heart disease and its associated risks.

American Heart Month kicks off on Monday, January 29, when OHS staff will be sponsoring a table outside of the 15th Annual Protective Services Chili Cookoff and holding a raffle for free gym bags to encourage employees to stay active. The event goes from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Building 426 Conference Room. There will be 20 winners, giving everyone plenty of chances to get a prize.

Then, on February 1, OHS will facilitate the American Red Cross blood drive in the Building 426 Conference Room from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To schedule a life-saving donation, NCI at Frederick employees should visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: NCI at Frederick.

The week will conclude with National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 2. The American Heart Association has designated February 3 as the official National Wear Red Day, but because it falls on a Saturday this year, OHS and NCI at Frederick will observe the day before. All employees are encouraged to wear a red shirt to help raise awareness about heart disease, and there will be a group photo of the employees decked out in red.

Diet and Exercise—and Fun

On Thursday, February 8, OHS will again ask NCI at Frederick, “Have you heard about how walking helps your heart?” with its latest Take a Hike event. The 1.3-mile walk will begin outside of Building 549, and the course will remain open from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. All walkers who complete the route will receive a pair of Bluetooth earbuds and a free hand warmer pack.

The following week, OHS will host “DASH & Dine” on February 15 between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. in the Building 549 Discovery Café. Employees can stop by to learn how the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can benefit their heart health.

OHS will hold another event in the Café on February 22 between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. called “What is Your Salt IQ?” Employees will have a chance to test their salt knowledge, participate in a game to see if they really know how much salt is in the foods they eat every day, and win a small prize.

Finally, OHS encourages all employees to take advantage of the free walk-in blood pressure clinic, held in the OHS office every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Although the clinic is held year-round, American Heart Month is the perfect time to be screened. All participants will be educated on the new American Heart Association guidelines for blood pressure and receive a free health and fitness journal to track their health progress this year.