Heart disease today remains the leading cause of death and disability in this country. It claims the lives of more than 2,600 Americans every day – an average of 1 death every 33 seconds. For the Florida Heart Research Institute, education, prevention and research have been an integral part of our mission for over 60 years.

Through our various community outreach programs available to everyone but with a particular focus on the underserved and uninsured, Florida Heart Research Institute educators continue to encourage Florida residents to take the proper steps to achieve and maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Most people don’t realize that heart disease can be prevented, stopped and even reversed by getting on a regimen of eating the right foods, exercising regularly and managing stressful situations.

Long commutes, Blackberrys, computers, fast foods and cell phones have taken over our lives. It’s time to slam the brakes on unhealthy, high risk behaviors that can lead to serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke. A crucial factor in the success of acquiring and maintaining healthy habits is an individual’s willingness to take an active role in the process. Changing one’s way of thinking and doing isn’t easy but is necessary to develop a better quality of life. A common sense approach is critical to improvement in overall health status. Be conscious of what you’re putting in your body by reading food labels for fat, cholesterol and sugar content. Take simple steps such as drinking water instead of soda, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, using sugar in moderation, putting smaller portions on your plate and trying healthy snacks instead of junk snacks are a start to getting you on the right track. Make a conscious decision to keep moving throughout the day: take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from an entrance, stretch during long periods in front of a computer, walk in place while watching TV! These simple steps will make you feel stronger in body and spirit if incorporated into your daily routine!

The Florida Heart Research Institute positively impacts the health and well-being of residents by participating in health promotion & disease prevention activities in our community. Our programs are recognized as state of the art and leading edge and are sought after as the “gold standard” provider of services. Educational programs are tailored to particular communities such as “Mission to Health” which is a collaborative chronic disease prevention program that targets the Pan African faith based communities of Miami-Dade County. The Research Institute’s “Working to Health” program provides customized worksite wellness programs for small to mid-sized businesses in South Florida.

Community screenings for heart disease, diabetes and obesity is one of Florida Heart Research Institute’s most effective tools for prevention and education. By identifying those who are already at risk for heart disease and counseling them on the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes and seeking medical care when appropriate, FHRI is saving our healthcare system countless dollars by identifying those at risk before they suffer a life threatening event. Experience has shown that nearly 60% of those screened require some type of follow up from treatment of high cholesterol or blood pressure to immediate hospitalization. Over 2,000 Florida residents a year benefit from this statewide outreach program.

By offering a variety of health education programs and services such as cardiovascular screenings, lectures, public awareness campaigns and heart healthy pamphlets, the Florida Heart Research Institute brings current knowledge as well as direct assistance to Florida residents in the prevention of the number one killer in the United States…heart disease! These programs and services are funded through private donations and grants. To learn more, please visit www.floridaheart.org or call (305) 674-3020.