Taking Action to Protect #OurHearts


(NewsUSA) - Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States – 1 in 5 people die from it each year, even though it is largely preventable. Research shows that many Americans will likely develop some form of heart disease,[i] but you don’t have to be one of them. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), you can take action by making small lifestyle changes that help reduce your risk and improve your overall health.[ii][iii][iv][v][vi][vii][viii][ix][x]

NHLBI’s The Heart Truth® program encourages you to join the #OurHearts movement and take these actions to support a heart-healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat better. Select nutritious snacks. Try whole fruits, dried fruits, unsalted rice cakes, fat-free and low-fat yogurt, or raw vegetables.[xi]Use herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Add more movement to your day. Sit less. Take the stairs. Park a good walking distance away from your destination. March in place, or walk around the block.[xii] Anything that gets your heart beating counts!
  • Stop (or don’t start) smoking. Make a list of the reasons you want to quit, select a quit date, and talk to a healthcare provider about resources that can help.[xiii]
  • Get enough quality sleep. If possible, aim for at least 7–9 hours of sleep each night. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.[xiv] 
  • Manage stress. Use relaxation techniques that combine breathing and focused attention on pleasing thoughts and images to calm the mind and body.[xv]
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Discuss with your healthcare provider if your weight is in a healthy range. If you need to lose weight, choose healthy foods, get regular exercise, and consider joining a weight loss program.
  • Control cholesterol. Make healthy food choices, like limiting saturated fats found in fatty cuts of meat, dairy products, and desserts, increase your physical activity, and don’t smoke. [xvi]
  • Manage blood sugar. Monitor your carbohydrate intake and choose complex carbohydrates, like whole grains and legumes, to help control blood sugar levels.[xvii]
  • Control blood pressure. Get your blood pressure checked at each healthcare visit.[xviii]Ask your provider if you should monitor your blood pressure at home. Knowing your numbers is an important first step to making sure yours are in a healthy range.

Devote a little time each day to your heart. Remember, self-care is heart care. Ask a family member or friend to join you on your heart-health journey. Personal networks make it easier to stick to heart-healthy habits that can help keep #OurHearts healthy for life.

To learn more about how to take action for your heart and prevent heart disease, visit www.hearttruth.gov.


[ii]Scarapicchia TMF, Amireault S, Faulkner G, et al. Social support and physical activity participation among healthy adults: a systematic review of prospective studies. Int Rev Sport Exerc Psychol. 2017;10(1):50–83.

[iii]Lemstra M, Bird Y, Fox J, et al. The Healthy Weights Initiative: results from the first 2,000 participants. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2018;12:1167–1174.

[iv]Poncela-Casasnovas J, Spring B, McClary D, et al. Social embeddedness in an online weight management programme is linked to greater weight loss. J R Soc Interface. 2015;12(104):20140686.

[v]Robinson E, Thomas J, Aveyard P, et al. What everyone else is eating: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of informational eating norms on eating behavior. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014;114(3):414–429.

[vi]Burton E, Farrier K, Hill KD, et al. Effectiveness of peers in delivering programs or motivating older people to increase their participation in physical activity: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sports Sci. 2018;36(6):666–678.

[vii]Lightner J, Irwin BC, Chrisman M. Changes in social integration predict changes in physical activity: a 25-year prospective study. J Phys Act Health. 2018;15(7):531–536.

[viii]Mitchell SA, Kneipp SM, Giscombe CW. Social factors related to smoking among rural, low-income women: findings from a systematic review. Public Health Nurs. 2016;33(3):214–223.

[ix]Creswell KG, Cheng Y, Levine MD. A test of the stress-buffering model of social support in smoking cessation: is the relationship between social support and time to relapse mediated by reduced withdrawal symptoms? Nicotine Tob Res. 2015;17(5):566–571.

[x]Pechmann C, Delucchi K, Lakon CM, et al. Randomised controlled trial evaluation of Tweet2Quit: a social network quit-smoking intervention. Tob Control. 2017;26(2):188–194.

[xi]Making the Move to DASH PDF




[xv]Stress | NCCIH (nih.gov); Relaxation Techniques: What You Need To Know | NCCIH (nih.gov)

[xvi]Blood Cholesterol - Treatment | NHLBI, NIH

[xvii]Get to Know Carbs | ADA (diabetes.org)

[xviii]Heart-Healthy Living - Get Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Checked | NHLBI, NIH