Celebrate During American Heart Month And Beyond With Small Steps to Improve Heart Health


The health implications from COVID-19 have been felt across society, especially for the Black community. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national decline in heart disease death rate reversed during the COVID-19 pandemic, disproportionately affecting Black adults. CDC data show that during the pandemic the United States lost approximately five years of progress in reducing heart disease rates across all races and ethnicities. Black adults experienced approximately 10 years of lost progress.

In honor of American Heart Month, Black History Month and the campaign’s one year anniversary, the CDC Foundation’s “Live to the Beat” campaign hosted a free cultural health and wellness expo on Saturday, February 25 in Northwest Atlanta. This event reflected “Live to the Beat’s” enhanced focus on community outreach and continues its signature approach of engaging Black culture by leveraging the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop to shine a spotlight on cardiovascular disease.

The event featured heart-healthy activities including work out classes, yoga/meditation sessions, healthy cooking demonstrations and on-site health screenings. Notable Hip-Hop icons and Black cultural influencers headlined the event, including event host and hip hop artist Killer Mike, celerity DJ Big Tigger, fitness influencer Toya Johnson, yoga influencer Lauren Williams and notable Chef Za of Za Za’s Kitchen.

As American Heart Month comes to close, you can continue taking simple steps to improve your heart health:

• Getting current with doctor’s appointments: Schedule your doctor visit today for a routine medical check-up or a visit with your specialist.

• Get moving for regular physical activity: Even five minutes a day has real health benefits, like improved sleep, reduced blood pressure and improved bone strength.

• Get on track with healthy eating: Small changes in your eating habits can make a big difference in your heart health. And, there are so many options—like eating more fruits and vegetables, cutting back on salt and managing your portion sizes.

• Get talking with family about heart health: No matter how old they get, kids look up to their parents, so be a heart-healthy role model for your kids. Show them it’s never too late to start practicing healthier habits. Talk to them about your heart health history, including whether or not heart disease or stroke runs in your family.

For more information and resources visit Livetothebeat.org.

Candace Wheeler
Candace Wheeler is a communications officer for the CDC Foundation.