Hospitals host heart-healthy programs

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Who knew some desserts could be good for you?

After the heart-healthy program at Monongahela Valley Hospital -- from 4 to 8 p.m. next Thursday -- participants will realize that "it's so easy to eat delicious foods that are completely healthy for you that do not contribute to heart disease," presenter Janet McKee said.

The free event is being held in conjunction with February's designation as national American Heart Month and with the "Go Red, Washington County" initiative.

For the initiative, which aims to increase healthy-heart education, Monongahela Valley Hospital is teaming with Canonsburg General Hospital and the Washington Health System.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, with about 600,000 people in the U.S. dying from heart disease each year.

Activities that can help prevent heart disease include a healthy diet, a healthy weight, exercise, limiting alcohol and not smoking.

Each of the three Washington County hospitals will host events aimed at cardiovascular health next Thursday at their facilities.

Mon Valley Hospital will hold its program in the Anthony M. Lombardi Education Conference Center at 1163 Country Club Road, Monongahela.

From 4:15 to 4:45 p.m., Ms. McKee and Amaera Felder will conduct two presentations concurrently in different rooms.

Ms. McKee, a cookbook author and board-certified holistic health counselor, will cook and share several healthy recipes.

"The American diet is very much a diet ... high in fat and low in fiber, so when you bring in beautiful and colorful plant food, which are fruits and vegetables, you can completely reverse heart disease," she said.

Treats, she said, can be nutritious, such as a favorite of hers that consists of bananas, cocoa and vanilla.

"Blend it and put it in the freezer, and you have ready a creamy, decadent delicious dessert," she said. "The cocoa, high in antioxidants, will help balance your blood pressure."

Ms. Felder, a yoga-alliance certified teacher who works with the Dean Ornish Program at Mon Valley Hospital, will present a session on stress management.

"Dr. Ornish proved for the first time that the progress of a chronic disease could be slowed down by using a low-fat diet and exercise," she said. "He added stress management and by just using diet, exercise, meditation and communication, people have control over their bodies."

"This is groundbreaking work," Ms. Felder said.

She also will demonstrate simple meditation exercises.

From 5 to 6 p.m., KDKA-TV news anchor Jennifer Antkowiak will discuss heart health and conduct Zumba and walking demonstrations.

Among the panelists on heart issues from 6 to 7:30 p.m. will be Kenny Furlong, a cardiac rehabilitation supervisor and registered nurse. He will discuss the outpatient program for cardiac rehabilitation patients following heart surgery or heart attacks.

The event includes screenings, information tables, raffles and more.

Parking is free. Make reservations by Wednesday: 724-258-1333.

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Margaret Smykla, freelance writer:


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