February 14, 2013
Audra Burns / Communications Director
Phone: 603.494.2179 (cell)
Burlington, VT – More than 400 women dressed in red attended the Vermont Go Red For Women Luncheon at the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center on Thursday, February 14. The event – part fundraiser, part awareness – celebrated the BetterU Challenge participants for completing their 12 week heart health makeover. The group decreased their cholesterol by 269 points and lost a combined total of 103 pounds.
The BetterU Challenge,sponsored by Northwestern Medical Center, provided the participants with fitness trainings, health testing and health seminars. Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine, a physician at Northwestern Medical Center and facilitator for the BetterU Challenge thanked the participants in front of the impressed crowd by saying, “you had the dedication to persevere with the necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health. You have set a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when we take preventative steps to better health.”
This life-affirming and inspiring luncheon is part of the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness among women and provide them with tools to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke – the number one and four causes of death among women.
Survivor speaker, Jeffersonville resident Maryellen Foley, spoke about the importance of listening to your body after she ignored her own signs which lead to open heart surgery just one year ago. “I urge all of you to educate yourselves and listen to your body and together we can change the face of heart disease. The strength of mothers, sisters, daughters and friends fighting side by side is more powerful than any killer.”
The luncheon program also featured educational breakout sessions including a presentation by Ladies First who spoke about the importance of ‘Knowing Your Numbers.’ Another hot topic was a presentation on Rethink Your Drink presented by UVM Professor Rachel Johnson, Chair of the American Heart Association’s National Nutrition Committee. The session educated attendees about the health effects of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) focusing on the impact of high consumption of SSBs on the risk of becoming overweight as well as increased risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and provided an overview of the SSB tax effort in Vermont.
The recipient of this year’s annual Crystal Heart Award was presented to Shannon Spofford of Lane Press.
Heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the number one cause of death in American women, claiming about 432,000 lives each year, or nearly one death each minute. CVD kills more women than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. For more information, tools and resources, visit www.goredforwomen.org .
Photos from this year’s event can be viewed at facebook.com/americanheartvermont
Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and Merck and locally by Northwestern Medical Center, Fletcher Allen, North Country Hospital. Media Partners include Fox44, Star 92.9, Vermont Woman Newspaper and Vermont Business Magazine.