Cardiovascular disease and stroke will cost the United States an estimated $503.2 billion in 2010, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). That figure includes both health care costs and lost productivity due to death and disease.
The AHA says many of these cases could have been prevented, citing risk factors that include obesity, too little exercise and poor diet.
“Scientific evidence indicates that if you eat right, you may reduce your risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers,” says Kathleen Splane, a University of Delaware Cooperative Extension educator. “But limited time, limited money and limited knowledge can get in the way of healthy eating.”
Splane and Extension colleague Cheryl Bush are helping Delawareans combat these impediments to nutritious eating with the Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart program. The next session begins Monday, May 2, in Newark and will be led by Bush, who is a registered dietician.
The three-part program includes education, cooking demonstrations and samplings of healthy foods. The first class focuses on desserts, the second on main dishes and the final class on side dishes. The program also includes basic information about heart disease, including risk factors, and other measures, such as exercise, that can impact cardiovascular health.
Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart features recipes with little or no saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol; little salt; low-fat sources of protein; and plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
“We teach that there are no ‘bad foods,’ that there are many creative ways to modify beloved old recipes into new, healthy favorites,” says Splane. “Class participants learn ways to reduce the salt and fat without sacrificing the taste.”
Splane has been cooking a heart healthy diet for her own family for more than a decade. Through plenty of research and trial and error, she has discovered how to present healthier versions of familiar foods without sacrificing taste.
Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart will be offered on Mondays, May 2, 9 and 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the New Castle County Cooperative Extension Office, 461 Wyoming Rd., Newark. The series costs $45 and is limited to the first 30 registrants. All child care providers who attend are entitled to receive continuing education credits. To register or for more information, call 302-831-1327.
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