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Students Red Out for heart health at JCHS

By Lacy Hilliard
Freelance Writer, Photographer

The members and directors of the HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) club know the importance of heart health. In cooperation with the American Heart Association, the club hosted a “Red Out” event. The weeklong event climaxed on Friday, September 14 with a 5k run, a “Red Out” themed pep rally, and the formation of a giant heart on the field during the JCHS football game.

The HOSA club was founded in 1978 with its primary goal remaining unchanged throughout the years. HOSA was established with the hope of promoting a higher level of learning for health occupation bound high school students. The HOSA club boasts impressive numbers throughout the United States with an estimated 120,000 members through 47 charter HOSA State Associations. More than a club, HOSA is touted as ‘a powerful instructional tool’ to be implemented in addition to an ‘HSE’ curriculum. The organization also hosts several health-themed competitive events that HOSA officers are invited to test their health knowledge. HOSA club members are expected to graduate from high school with a college level understanding of health sciences, giving them an edge on the competition and assuring their success in the field.

Part of the HOSA club’s mission is to promote health and wellness throughout the community. It is this mission that inspired HOSA club advisors, Tina Reece, RN and Sonya Hammons, RN, to get their students involved in the American Heart Association’s “Red Out” event. Because of their backgrounds as registered nurses, Reece and Hammons know the importance of promoting heart health as well as community outreach programs. The AHA reports that one in three adults in the United States suffer from some form of heart disease. Heart disease remains the number one killer of women in the United States rivaled only by cancer.
Heart disease is defined by a disorder of the blood vessels leading to the heart. A heart attack can occur when a blood vessel is blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from entering the heart. Symptoms of a heart attack can be different for men and women and the American Heart Association advises suspected heart attack victims to seek treatment immediately if they’re experiencing any of the following symptoms; shortness of breath with or without chest pain, severe to moderate chest pain, uncomfortable pressure or a squeezing sensation in the chest, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, and flu-like symptoms. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and a family history of heart disease. The good news is nearly 80% of heart attacks can be prevented with a change in diet and lifestyle. Adopting a healthy diet rich in leafy greens and low in fat is an excellent way to promote heart health. Using oils sparingly is also important to maintaining a healthy heart. Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and limiting inactivity are essential to maintaining heart health. Cardiovascular driven exercises like aerobics can also help but it is recommended that any patient going from a high level of inactivity to beginning an exercise regimen should first talk to their doctor about a routine that’s right for them.

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