February 2008

Wear Red! Support the Fight Against Heart Disease
February 1, 2008 is National Wear Red Day - a day when Americans nationwide will wear red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness. This observance provides an opportunity for everyone to unite in this life-saving awareness movement by showing off a favorite red dress, shirt, tie, or Red Dress Pin. One in four American women die of heart disease, and most fail to make the connection between risk factors— such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol—and their personal risk of developing heart disease. Challenges remain, and many women still do not take heart disease seriously and personally. The Heart Truth—a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease—created and introduced the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women. The Red Dress reminds women of the need to protect their heart health, and inspires them to take action. National Wear Red Day is a joint effort of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease; American Heart Association; and many other groups. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/ hearttruth/wrd/

Four Reasons to Love Dark Chocolate
You’ve probably heard that chocolate can actually be good for you. But you may not know that only dark chocolate offers healthy antioxidants. Dark chocolate has been linked to several healthybenefits. It can: • lower blood pressure • improve cholesterol • prevent diabetes by improving function of the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar • lower risk of heart disease This isn’t a license to gorge on dark chocolate. A little goes a long way. Research shows that 3.5 ounces a day is enough to get the heart-healthy benefits without packing on the pounds. http://www.webmd.com/content/ article/102/106574.htm

National Children of Alcoholics Week February 10-16, 2008
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) has designated February 10-16, 2008 as National Children of Alcoholics Week to raise awareness of the many children who suffer the consequences of having parents who are alcoholics and drug dependent. NACoA’s mission is to advocate for all children and families affected by alcoholism and other drug dependencies by: • raising public awareness • providing leadership in public policy at the national, state, and local levels • advocating for appropriate, effective and accessible education and prevention services • facilitating and advancing professional knowledge and understanding http://nacoa-stage.shs.net/

Challenge Yourself!
The American Cancer Society has launched its Great American Health Challenge. Log onto www.cancer.org, complete a five-minute survey and you will instantly get a personalized health action plan to share with your doctor, including what cancer screenings you may need. You can even complete the survey for a loved one. Other features include access to a virtual personal trainer, virtual dietician and help to quit smoking. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s part of keeping your resolution to take care of you!

Affectionate Writing Can Reduce Cholesterol
This Valentine’s Day, why not consider writing notes to the ones you love? It could make you healthier! According to new research, writing down affectionate thoughts about close friends and family can reduce your cholesterol levels. Researchers randomly assigned participants to experimental and control groups. The experimental group wrote with affection about one person in their lives for 20 minutes on three occasions over a five-week period. The control group wrote mundane descriptions of their activities over the week. The results from two separate studies demonstrated that after only 25 days, the experimental group who had written affectionate notes, showed a significant reduction in cholesterol. The researchers also found that those who wrote directly to someone showed greater reductions in cholesterol than those who wrote in the third person about someone. Floyd, K., Mikkelson, A. C., Hesse, C. & Pauley, P. M. (2007) Affectionate Writing Reduces Total Cholesterol: Two Randomized, Controlled Trials. Human Communication Research, 33(2), 119-142. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/ http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/03/ affectionate-writing-can-reduce.php

The Wellness Newsletter is brought to you by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Office of Health, Wellness, and Medical Direction. Peggy Bonneau, Editor

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