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ROEL Construction, AHA challenge corporate San Diego to Start! walking

Heart disease and stroke continue to be the nation's No. 1 and 3 killers, and 142 million American adults -- 66 percent of Americans -- are overweight. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease, and is a comparable risk to other modifiable risk factors such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking. About 70 percent of the American population engages in no regular leisure-time physical activity, which is defined as light-moderate activity for more than 30 minutes, five times a week, or vigorous activity (like brisk walking) for more than 20 minutes, three times a week.

At a time when companies are laying off workers and cutting benefits, some local businesses are taking a different approach during the economic downturn. Rather than cutting benefits, some businesses are investing in keeping their employees happy and healthy. San Diego based ROEL Construction has committed to lead the American Heart Association's Start! Wellness Program, a no-cost corporate wellness campaign promoting healthy lifestyles. Start! serves as both a smart fiscal choice and a powerful catalyst for positive change in the culture of American businesses by helping to promote wellness in America's workplaces. The focus of the campaign is simple: Walk more. Eat well. Live longer.

Here are some things that people can do to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke:

¥ Don't use tobacco -- It's the No. 1 preventable cause of serious illness such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and emphysema.

¥ Be physically active -- It can build endurance, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, aid in weight control and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

¥ Eat healthy foods -- Foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol contribute to atherosclerosis, a primary cause of heart attack and stroke. Consuming too much salt (sodium) can cause high blood pressure in some people.

¥ Watch your weight -- Obesity is a major risk factor.

¥ Avoid excessive alcohol -- One or two drinks a day may help increase "good" HDL cholesterol, but heavy drinking can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Start! encourages corporations and individuals to promote physical fitness and help break down the obstacles that keep Americans from being physically active. The movement focuses on walking as an activity because it is accessible, free and has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise. Visit www.americanheart.org to learn more about how to get involved.

Submitted by ROEL Construction

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