No matter where you look in February, you’ll see a familiar symbol: a heart. This month, homes and stores everywhere are getting ready for Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped boxes of candy, cards and other items, all decorated with hearts. When we give gifts like these, the hearts represent our love for friends and family. But February is also a time when we’re reminded to show love for our own hearts, so we can stay healthy and enjoy our time with those we care about.
Since 1964, February has been known as American Heart Month, and is dedicated to as raising awareness about heart disease. Heart disease is still one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and the leading cause of death for women. The best defenses against heart disease and strokes are awareness, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Here in Middlesex County, we aim to follow the example of organizations like the American Heart Association by offering our residents information and programs that will help them improve and maintain their health.
You can learn more about these programs, from health screenings to senior care, on the county’s website at www.middlesexcountynj.gov. Search for the Middlesex County Office of Health Services, where you’ll find links to information on our public health clinic, health education and much more.
Heart health is especially important as we grow older. The county recognizes this and provides programs and events to promote good health for senior citizens, like the annual Senior Health and Fitness Walk. This event is a favorite with our residents. We also offer nutrition services such as our Senior Farm Market and Meals on Wheels programs to ensure that our older residents can eat healthy even if they’re homebound or on a reduced income.
I encourage all of you to visit our website for more on these services, and www.heart.org for more on the American Heart Association and heart disease prevention. I hope that your 2018 is off to a great start, and together, we can make this a healthy year for ourselves and our families.
Ronald G. Rios is the director of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He will write a regular column discussing issues important to county residents.