News Column

Mega Events in September Allow Heart Health Campaign to Reach Tens of Thousands of Hispanics During Cholesterol Awareness Month

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A series of mega events in Hispanic communities around the country will showcase the 2007 Heart Health Campaign during September, Cholesterol Awareness Month.

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health is in the midst of its 2007 Heart Health Campaign which is bringing life-saving health education information and cholesterol screenings to communities across the nation with a particular focus on four major cities: Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; New York, New York; and Houston, Texas. More than 1,000 people have already had their cholesterol screened and prominent elected officials have participated in screening events, helping to bring the message to their communities.

Thousands of people will participate in Hispanic community events this month where a team of health professionals will be on-hand to provide important information about heart health and provide thousands of free cholesterol screenings on-location.

Community Urgency

According to studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanics are the group least likely to have been screened for high cholesterol, with between one-third and one-half of all Hispanics not screened within the past 5 years. Of those found to have high cholesterol in clinical research, only half were aware they had high cholesterol. High cholesterol does not have physical symptoms, a fact that makes this campaign's public education and screening events so important.

"The free cholesterol screenings we have brought to communities have saved lives," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and author of SALUD - A Latina's Guide to Total Health. "We have an urgent message, one that has already reached millions of Hispanics through our work this summer and we are committed to doing even more to deliver screening and education as part of Cholesterol Awareness Month."

Important Timing for This Campaign

Cholesterol Awareness Month, which coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) was designated by the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and provides news media with a unique opportunity to share information about hearth health, including the importance of cholesterol screenings.

The Alliance effort is part of the Alliance's Para un corazon saludable (translation: For a healthy heart), a new educational initiative funded by an educational grant from AstraZeneca aimed at improving awareness and understanding of heart disease risk factors, including high cholesterol, among Hispanics.

As part of the screening and educational campaign, Alliance organizations have been jointly conducting a major four-city survey on health issues to gauge additional community challenges. The results of the survey will be released in November at a meeting of leaders in Hispanic cardiology in Orlando, Florida.

"The more we can understand the health challenges Hispanic communities face the better equipped our doctors and other professionals in the health care system will be to provide appropriate care and advice to our patients," said Jack Lewin, M.D., CEO of the American College of Cardiology.

Contacting the Alliance

Given our community's high use of mobile technologies, the Alliance's Heart Health Campaign is also reaching Hispanic families through an innovative two-part campaign that will publicize both a new text message campaign (send the message "CORAZON" or "HEART" to the text message number 30644) and the 1-866-SU-FAMILIA Family Health Helpline.

The national helpline (1-866-783-2645 or 1-866-SU-FAMILIA) offers free, reliable and confidential health information in Spanish and English. The Su Familia Helpline is available from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday.

Callers speak with bilingual and culturally proficient health promotion advisors. Callers can receive basic health information and consumer-friendly fact sheets on cholesterol, heart health, and a range of health issues. Also, by providing their zip code, callers can receive referrals to one of over 26,000 local health providers, including community and migrant health centers.

About the National Alliance for Hispanic Health

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health is the nation's foremost source of information and trusted advocate for the health of Hispanics in the United States. The Alliance represents thousands of Hispanic health providers across the nation providing services to more than 14 million each year, making a daily difference in the lives of Hispanic communities and families. For more information, visit http://www.hispanichealth.org/ or call the Alliance's Su Familia National Hispanic Family Health Helpline at 1-866-783-2645.

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