Go Red Week previews heart-health initiatives to come

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Go Red Week previews heart-health initiatives to come

Laurel Kraus, Life Editor

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women with over 250 thousand deaths attributed to it in 2013 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While Oakland University has participated with National Go Red Week in the past, this year, the events will be incorporated into a much larger campus-wide heart health initiative.

“We really want students to be informed early on of signs and symptoms of heart disease because what we’re finding is everyone typically knows someone who’s been affected by it,” said Stephanie Willis, a coordinator for Wellness & Educational Outreach at OU.

The initiative began when the President of Wayne State University invited Oakland’s President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz to join the effort.

“Students don’t often think about heart disease because it typically affects older people, but it’s the habits and the behaviors that they start now that can contribute,” said Erica Wallace, Health & Wellness coordinator.

Go Red Week kicked off on Monday, Jan. 29 with a stress less event and continued on Tuesday, Jan. 30 with parking lot raids where volunteers passed out Kind Bars in multiple lots throughout the day.

Today features a walk-a-thon on the Rec Well track from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., which will be followed tomorrow, Feb. 1, by a nutrition workshop as well as Chartwells cooking demonstration. The week will close on Friday, Feb. 2, National Wear Red Day, with the second annual Go Red Dance Jam from noon to 1 p.m. in the Rec Center.

This start to the semester-long initiative is a collaboration between University Recreation and Well-Being, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, the School of Nursing and Graham Health Center.

Looking toward the future, February will feature tabling events in the Oakland Center titled “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart,” where students can get information on the risk factors and prevention techniques of heart disease. According to Wallace, healthy eating, regular exercise, limiting alcohol and not smoking can all aid in preventing heart disease.

March will focus on nutrition through further cooking demonstrations, but will also offer a Hands Only CPR Event through a partnership with Beaumont. Participants will not receive the CPR certification but will learn the proper technique.

April is then set to bring back walks with campus leaders. Organized in the past as well, students and campus leaders are brought together through relaxed walks that get the blood flowing and allow for friendly interaction.

This year, the individual walks will be led by Pescovitz, student affairs directors, the OU Police Department and all of the college deans.

“We’re going to do sort of like a dean’s challenge where we can see how many people from each of the different schools or colleges they can bring with them,” Willis said.

The finale of this initiative will be the American Heart Association Heart Walk at Wayne State University in May.

Wallace reported that possible future initiatives through Health & Wellness could include a sleep campaign that deals with students getting adequate sleep.