The Lieutenant Governor's Challenge:
Your Heart Is In Your Hands Program
I am writing to invite you to join me in an exciting new health improvement program – The Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge: Your Heart Is In Your Hands.
Did you know that heart and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in America? One in three people have cardiovascular disease, and in Virginia nearly 20,000 people die from heart related illness everyone year. That is more than cancer, HIV/AIDS and accidents combined!
In large part, this is because 60% of Virginia’s adults are overweight or obese. People considered overweight are 32% more likely to have heart disease. That number jumps to 81% for those considered obese.
But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Healthier living, increased exercise and a better diet can reduce the risk of heart related illness by as much as 82%.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge is an initiative sponsored by the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association and modeled after a Delaware campaign that was designed to reduce the danger of heart disease through education on risk factors, increased physical fitness and improved nutrition.
The Challenge is an incentive based exercise and nutrition program where Virginians set personal physical activity and diet goals to promote healthier living and increase their own heart health.
The risk of heart and cardiovascular disease can be significantly reduced through simple, attainable lifestyle changes. By setting aside 30 minutes or more each day for walking, gardening, playing tennis or a host of other things, Virginians can take significant steps toward losing weight and lowering their risk of heart disease.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge is a 12 week program where participating Virginians receive points for completing simple, everyday physical activities. For example, walking for 30 minutes is 4 points, raking leaves for 30 minutes is 4 points and so on.
There is also a nutritional challenge where you earn points for eating healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables which help lower cholesterol and caloric intake which reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
At the end of the 12 week Challenge each individual who attains a specified number of points for the physical challenge, the nutritional challenge or both will receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal, depending on their results. And after they finish the first 12 week Challenge they can set a new goal and start again.
If you are concerned about your heart health, I invite you to join us in this effort by visiting our website at www.ltgovernorschallenge.us. The website will provide you with your own individual log in page to record your daily activities and points. The website also gives a list of activities and foods with corresponding point values and ideas and opportunities for how you can become more fit.
I will also personally participate in the Challenge. I have chosen to seek the Gold medal and have set a personal goal of losing an additional 20 pounds as a result of this 12 week Challenge.
Over the weeks to come we will be publicizing this program in a number of ways:
- Working with our partners, we will be distributing brochures, postcards and information across the Commonwealth to help educate Virginians on the importance of a healthy heart.
- I will be the special guest and award presenter at the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in Richmond on October 25th.
- My wife, Jean Ann, who is an Ambassador for the Wear Red for Women campaign in Virginia, will be visiting schools to discuss the importance of cardiovascular health and preventing childhood obesity. She will also be visiting with various women’s groups to encourage them to participate in the Challenge.
- Various media outlets in Virginia will be running PSAs to promote the Your Heart Is In Your Hands campaign.
- And this fall I will sponsor a Heart Health Summit, which will bring together elected officials, appropriate federal, state and local agencies and various private and public sector stakeholders to discuss heart and cardiovascular health issues.
Let me close by once again encouraging everyone who is concerned about their heart health to join us in this effort by visiting our web site at www.ltgovernorschallenge.us.
Together, we will begin the process of eating healthier, getting more exercise, losing weight, shaping up and living happier, healthier and longer!
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
P.S. - I also want to thank the following organizations who have agreed to partner with me to promote The Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge, including the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Lung Association, Bon Secours Health System, YMCA of Virginia, The Alliance for Healthy Virginians, the School Nutrition Association of Virginia, VCU Medical Center and AstraZeneca.