SOURCE: Meatless Monday

March 22, 2005 10:26 ET

Faith-Based Groups Praise "Search Your Heart Sunday-Go Healthy Monday!" Program

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 22, 2005 -- Meatless Monday, a national public education campaign to help Americans prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers is proud to join the American Heart Association's Search Your Heart initiative, a heart health education program targeted to faith-based organizations in New York City, Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey. The purpose of the program is to address the higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and stroke among African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos and Asians.

Cardiovascular disease kills approximately one-million Americans each year, with the largest percentage of these deaths occurring among minority populations. In many cases, these deaths can be prevented through exercise and a healthy diet. The Search Your Heart program teaches participants skills for a healthier lifestyle at its sermons, workshops, information sessions and church activities. Meatless Monday provides the Search Your Heart nutrition curriculum with weekly health information, meatless recipes and activity suggestions that generates interest and increases participation among the congregations.

The American Heart Association wants to recruit 300 churches from the tri-state region to participate in the Search Your Heart program. American Heart Association staff work with churches to identify and train Heart Health Ambassadors, who in turn will be responsible for implementing "Search Your Heart Sunday--Go Healthy Monday" activities within their respective churches.

The American Heart Association has created modules that guide people through simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference in preventing heart disease and stroke. One of these modules, called Eat for Life, provides tips on how to eat healthier by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into one's diet. Search Your Heart activities also include cooking classes which train cooks of all levels how to make easy, healthful dishes.

"Each Search Your Heart program is tailored to the needs of the congregation," says Pat Kaelin, Vice President Heart & Stroke Initiative of American Heart Association. Search Your Heart Health Ambassadors work with congregations to identify their health needs and then help them implement a program that closely matches their interest. "Behavior change can be difficult, so it's important that individuals have a personal interest in the program and that participating churches make a year-round commitment to the program to have the greatest impact," says Kaelin.

"We're very pleased to be associated with the American Heart Association's efforts to implement this critically important program," says Sid Lerner, Chairman of Meatless Monday. "'Search Your Heart Sunday--Go Healthy Monday' has the potential to reach more than 500,000 underserved individuals every year with lifesaving information and activities."

About American Heart Association

Since 1924, the American Heart Association has helped protect people of all ages and ethnicities from the ravages of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, claim more than 930,000 American lives each year. The association invested more than $348 million in fiscal year 2002-2003 for research, professional and public education, and advocacy so people across America can live stronger, longer lives.

About Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday (www.meatlessmonday.com) is a national public education campaign to help Americans prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to eat less saturated fat from meat and high-fat dairy products, and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Meatless Monday, a nonprofit organization, works in association with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Twenty-eight schools of public health also support the campaign. The campaign provides weekly recipes and health news to help people cut the fat from their diet one day a week. To learn more, visit www.meatlessmonday.com.

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