How To Promote Heart Health Within Your Church Community

Life & Love | By Justin D Joseph | 01/30/2013 | 11:20 AM EST

The church has been a veritable situation room of the Black community for generations. Movements have been birthed from pews, and successful figures have found origin in sanctuaries across the country. But in recent years, the church has become a vital part in educating African Americans on a series of diseases that are killing millions annually. With the devastation of HIV still taking its toll, and the fight against obesity growing by the day, it has become a necessity for church leaders to lead and provide their congregation with the information and tools needed to provide their families with healthier lifestyles.

With American Heart Month just days away (it kicks off February 1), it will be imperative to use those upcoming 28 days should be a challenge for faith based communities to dedicate themselves to living not only a holy life, but a healthy one too.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death amongst all women, with African American men and women carrying a higher death rate than Caucasian and Hispanic people.

So what can you do on your church campus to help? Consider these ideas for planning an event to promote the heart health in your faith community.

1. Organize a "Red Dress Sunday" or "Red Dress Sabbath" event for your place of worship. You can put a notice in the bulletin, hold an educational session (Speaker's Kit), and distribute brochures and fact sheets. Also see the Ten Commandments for a Healthy Heart and Talking Points for Red Dress Sunday/Sabbath.

2. Ask the female leader of your place of worship to become an ambassador for heart disease awareness for women in your congregation. 3. Ask your ministry leader to deliver The Heart Truth messaging from the pulpit. Consider using Talking Points for Red Dress Sunday/Sabbath. 4. Organize a session using The Heart Truth for Women: A Speaker's Kit (Speaker's Kit), during a Women's ministry or Health ministry meeting. 5. Organize a health-themed Bible study. 6. Form partnerships with retail/clothing outlets to stage a Red Dress fashion show that donates a percentage of the profit for every red dress sold to a non-profit heart disease organization. (Sample partner outreach letter) 7. Incorporate a Red Dress theme for your women's ministry brunch or Mother's Day event. 8. Organize a heart health screening event and health fair for women at your place of worship. 9. Distribute Red Dress Pins (Ordering Information). 10. Place a link to The Heart Truth Web pages (www.hearttruth.gov) on your place of worship's Web site. 11. Include an article on heart disease and The Heart Truth in the church's newsletter/magazine. 12. Consider including Ten Commandments for a Healthy Heart. 13. Organize a heart healthy meal for you community.

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