Family YMCA of Black Hawk County

Love Your Heart: Facts and Tips

The Y is uniquely positioned to make a difference through programs and content that honor Black History Month as well as provide Healthy Living education and support.


It’s fitting that February is both Black History and American Heart Month, an initiative created to bring awareness to the nationwide problem of heart and blood vessel diseases. Heart disease disproportionately impacts Black communities.

Just take a look at some of these statistics from

Black History and American Heart Health Month Statistics










  • African American adults are more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease, and they are more likely to die from heart disease.
  • Although African American adults are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure, they are 10% less likely than their non-Hispanic White counterparts to have their blood pressure under control.
  • More African American men die from heart attacks associated with stress than any other ethnic group in the United States.
  • Stroke is identified as being 67% higher in African American men than other ethnic groups and are 88% more likely to die from a stroke than Caucasians.
  • The American Heart Association says that African Americans are more than three times as likely to die from heart disease caused by high blood pressure as Caucasians
As a leading nonprofit dedicated to improving the nation’s health, the we offer the following tips to help families in the Cedar Valley to be heart healthy:
  1. Get Physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.
  2. Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10 – 12 hour of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.
  3. Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
  4. Feeling the Pressure: Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. Lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with you doctor if needed.
  5. Play Together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park.

Get Involved

The YMCA isn’t ONLY about getting in shape. It is a community resource organization, aimed at improving the spirit, mind, and body of all who want to participate.

Make a Gift

We need your support to strengthen our community – because strengthening community is our cause.
Learn More

Proud Partners