Every February we celebrate Black History Month and reflect and honor the contributions African Americans have made to this country. While there are countless tributes to people who have made great changes in American society, we often don’t hear much about the origins of Black History Month or the man who created it.
Black History Month was originally founded as Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Many have questioned why February, the shortest month of the year has been designated as the month to celebrate Black History. The second week of February was initially chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. It wasn’t until the 1976 however, following the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement, that the week became a nationally recognized month.
Woodson thought the week necessary to combat the disregard and misrepresentation of black history at educational institutions. After earning his Master’s at the University of Chicago in 1908, he dedicated his work to African American life and history through research and teaching. Woodson held the philosophy that strengthening education, social, and professional networks among blacks and whites would reduce racism.
As you celebrate this Black History Month, make sure to remember its creator and its origins.
February is also American Heart Month. Every 34 seconds someone in America has a heart attack. The American Heart Association has identified seven different measures that play a significant role in a person’s risk of developing heart disease. Many heart related conditions can be prevented by making changes in each of the 7 measures listed below.
Life’s Simple 7
- Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.
- Control Cholesterol
High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.
- Reduce Blood Sugar
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high levels of blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.
- Get Active
Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love. Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.
- Eat Better
A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you improve your chances for feeling good and staying healthy – for life!
- Lose Weight
When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. You give yourself the gift of active living, you lower your blood pressure and you help yourself feel better, too.
- Stop Smoking
Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
Visit https://www.heart.org/ for more on how to keep a healthy heart.
To take a brief assessment to help you better understand your cardiovascular health, go to https://mylifecheck.heart.org/AssessmentTools2/main_en_US.html