Matters of the heart

School, hospital urging healthier lifestyles

On Valentine's Day, a day for conveying feelings for a significant other, Perry Moyle was delivering an entirely different message regarding matters of the heart.

That is, protecting yours from neglect.

Moyle, also known as the "heart man" and to some students the "fat man," relayed some sobering news about the risks of neglecting the heart during a presentation Wednesday afternoon at Craig Intermediate School.

Although he may have been addressing students, Moyle's overwhelming message about exercising and proper diet was pertinent to all demographics.

Moyle, a regional director for the American Heart Association, visited the school as part of Jump Rope for Heart, a program that raises money for heart education and research in February, which is American Heart Month.

Moyle said more people die from cardiovascular diseases than cancer, yet the latter tends to draw more awareness and concern. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.

"For every person that dies from cancer, two people die from heart attacks and strokes," Moyle said. "That's why we need to take care of our hearts."

He said someone dies from a heart attack in the United States every 32 seconds, and women are becoming more susceptible to cardiovascular problems than men.

"It's a huge eye opener," Moyle said of fatality numbers related to heart disease.

Moyle presented visual aids to the students Wednesday -- test tube vials measuring the fat content in different fast food items. Several of the vials were nearly full.

"It's meant to completely gross them out," Moyle said.

Mission accomplished, CIS fifth-graders Matt Neubel and Colter Tegtman said.

"You know, that stuff is disgusting," Tegtman said. "I didn't know it was that gross."

"I don't want to die at an early age," Neubel added.

"Yeah, me neither," Tegtman said.

All Moffat County School District elementary schools are raising money for the Heart Association through the Jump Rope for Heart program. Moyle said about $5,000 will be raised by the schools this year.

The school district isn't the lone local entity getting involved with the health craze. In April, The Memorial Hospital plans to launch "Craig's Biggest Loser," a knock off of the television show that features contestants competing against one another in shedding pounds and increasing exercise.

"We want to stress the importance of health and prevention," TMH spokeswoman Pam Thompson said. "The best thing for your health is diet and exercise."

And, based on recent Moffat County data, some dieting and exercise might be good for local residents. According to the 2005-06 Community Indicators Project, the average Body Mass Index for men and women in Moffat County above 19-years-old meets the definition of overweight, and in some cases, obesity.

A BMI of more than 25 is considered overweight; a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

The average BMI for men 20 to 69 years old in Moffat County is 31.5, according to the report, more than the obesity rate. The BMI for women 20 to 69 years old is 28, meeting the overweight level.

The hospital's "Craig's Biggest Loser" program will include weight loss competitions between small to large businesses, and a competition for individuals, Thompson said. Prizes will be awarded to winners.

The competitive aspect of the program is meant to lend incentive to people participating.

"That's why we wanted to create a friendly competition because it tends to get more people involved," Thompson said. She added, "We know we have an obesity problem and we want to help people live a healthier life."

As part of the program, TMH will offer tests for $100 that measure body fat and includes blood work and a counseling session with a nutritionist. Tools and kits to quit smoking will also be available through the contest.

Details of "Craig's Biggest Loser" are still being finalized; however, there will be some information available tonight during a Business After-Hours Mixer, scheduled to run from 5 to 7 p.m. at TMH, 785 Russel St.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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