September Health and Wellness Observances

Tuesday, 06 September 2011

The 5th annual National Firefighter Health Week was held on August 14-20, providing an opportunity for you and your department to focus on your health and begin or enhance a health and wellness program. It is critical to keep this momentum up all year. The U.S. Fire Administration’s preliminary report on firefighter fatalities in 2010 revealed 61 percent of firefighter on-duty deaths were related to stress and overexertion. Continuing to educate yourself and your department about health risks can lead to improved health and help prevent tragedy.

To keep up your motivation until the next National Firefighter Health Week, you and your department can follow many of the health and wellness observances throughout the year. September observances include:

  • World Heart Day - Heart attacks are the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for firefighters in the United States each year. World Heart Day, which will be observed on September 29 this year, was established to advise people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death, claiming 17.1 million lives each year. The World Heart Federation states that 80 percent of premature deaths from heart disease could have been prevented if tobacco, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity were regulated. Learn more at World Heart Federation web site.
  • Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses September to promote eating fruits and vegetables for enhanced health. The CDC reports those who consume the proper amount of fruits and vegetables daily are likely to have reduced risk of diseases such as stroke, cancer, and heart disease. Learn more at www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, and encourage your department to participate in this month’s Heart-Healthy Firefighter Challenge.
  • National Cholesterol Education Month - Cholesterol is a naturally occurring chemical in your body. Over 65 million Americans are affected by high blood cholesterol, which can significantly increase your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. High cholesterol does not have symptoms; therefore getting screened by your doctor is the best way of knowing whether or not you are at risk. Your diet is an important influence on cholesterol levels, so maintaining a healthy, low-fat diet, combined with regular physical activity, is key. Find more information at http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/cholmonth/.
  • Whole Grains Month - Studies have shown that eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and also contributes to body weight management and gastrointestinal health. Some studies show reduced risks from as little as one serving a day, although the most distinct benefits were from those consuming at least three servings daily. Click here to learn more.

View a full calendar of health observances throughout the year. Learn more about the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program’s many resources and tools at www.healthy-firefighter.org. 

 

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