Many would agree that Hispanics are very proud when it comes to their rich culture and heritage! The highly influential Hispanic culture has long established its mark in the United States as seen in music, art, language, food, history, diversity, and most importantly, in health; hence the popular toasting term “salud” or “cheers,” which honors health. According to Nielsen, by 2015 Hispanics accounted for $1.5 trillion in buying power, spending at a higher rate on fresh foods than other consumer groups in the country.
From September 15 through October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed across America, in celebration of the independence of several Latin American countries and the contributions that have infused America. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is passionate about celebrating and preserving culture and heritage by building lives free of heart disease and stroke – two leading causes of death among Hispanic-Americans.
Factors such as family health history, ethnic background and race play a significant role in the health outcomes of a community. Examine the diversity of Hispanic identity. Think about the variety of distinct dishes and countries that make up this group. One size does not fit all and this is not the exception when it comes to heart and brain health matters, but there’s one common denominator to reducing heart disease, stroke and its risk factors – awareness.
For this reason, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recommends that everyone learns and shares the following tips and resources:
1. Health is your best heritage.
Access the new Hispanic Heritage Month resources – in particular the infographic and quick quiz – which are specifically designed to help Hispanic individuals, families and communities increase their heart and brain health knowledge and access culturally tailored tools.
Additionally, “go social” and recognize the iconic month with a Twibbon for your Facebook and Twitter profile. Whether you are Hispanic/Latino or simply wish to support Hispanic Heritage… there’s a Twibbon for that!
2. Heart your heart.
The most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. Other common symptoms, especially in women, are shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Learn more at GoRedForWomen.org and help raise awareness in recognition of World Heart Day, September 29.
3. Beat the clock, F.A.S.T.
When someone has a stroke, seconds can mean the difference between life, permanent disability and death. Learn the acronym F.A.S.T. to recognize the signs immediately, (F – face drooping; A – arm weakness; S – speech difficulty; T – time to call 9-1-1).
4. Less salt, more sweat.
Let’s face it! There are no shortcuts. Healthy habits like consuming less sodium and staying physically active are key to preventing vascular diseases. The great news is that you’re not alone. For online fitness support, women can join Go Red Get Fit and everyone can pledge to eating less salt.
5. Better to know Hands-Only CPR.
Latinos are 30 percent less likely to have bystander CPR performed on them during a cardiac event. Knowledge is power! Two simple steps can give you the skills you need to potentially save a life. Watch the “Mama Knows Best” video to learn them.
Now more than ever, there’s an urgency to spread awareness and put a stop to heart disease, stroke and the top risk factors among Hispanics: diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. You can begin taking action today by sharing the resources with your friends and networks and toasting to good heart and brain health. ¡Salud!