[The Nicks Fix]

Arizona's Healthy Living
July/August 98      See the article with photos - [page 1] [page 2]
A Lesson from the Heart

by Jeanne A. Cahill, C.H.E.S. Healthy Living Mag cover

Itís never too early to take good care of your heart. Thatís why the Arizona Foundation (AHIF) developed the Heart Healthy Lessons for Children (HHLC) curriculum, a health education program for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. This program covers three areas critical to heart health: nutrition, exercise, and smoking, and meets the Arizona Board of Education mandates for health and science curriculum. It is packaged with colorful overhead transparencies, handouts, teaching suggestions, heart healthy recipes and activities such as word searches, seek & find pictures and quizzes. "Mr. Heart," a life-size mascot, is sometimes available to attend local programs held at the schools.

The Arizona Heart Institute Foundation provides in-service programs to schools interested in incorporating HHLC into their curriculum. Often it is the school nurse who brings the program to the school, although the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation has received request from superintendents, teachers, physical education departments, and parent-teacher organizations.

Good news travels fast!
The HHLC program, offered to schools for $25 and $10 for the education video, has reached 31 states. Schools identified as serving at-risk children (where 50% of more of the children are from low income families) receive a free curriculum.

The educational package is now available in Spanish, thanks to a $30,000 grant from Arizona Public Service. Bank One and Hilton Hotels have given monies to make the program available to schools in California.

Why is it necessary to reach children at such a young age with the heart health message? According to Gerry Kroloff, of the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation, 3,000 children under the age of 12 begin smoking each week in the U.S. In addition, children as young as four years of age have begun to show signs of plaque build-up in the arteries. Over 1 million people die each year of causes related to heart disease at a cost of $100 million in healthcare. "We canít start early enough to help our children prevent heart disease," she said.

Music from the Heart
Fighting heart disease is a family affair for Valley resident and musical artist Stevie Nicks. Because both her parents are affected by heart disease, Stevie has performed on behalf of the foundation in the past. Her father, Jess Nicks, has been the chairman of the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation since 1973. Over the years, the most rewarding aspect of the position, according to Mr. Nicks, has been "to see the many advances made in surgery and other methods for treating heart disease."

This year Jess Nicks, Dr. Edward B. Diethrich, AHIF founder and medical director, and the staff of the Arizona Heart Institute will see the realization of a dream that began over twenty years ago, with the opening of a free-standing hospital dedicated solely to the diagnosis, treatment and research of heart disease. "We have fought for a long time to get the permits to build the Arizona Heart Hospital. It is due to the excellent reputation of the Arizona Heart Institute worldwide that we were finally able to get the permits," says Nicks.

Stevie Nicks joins her dad in support of the foundationís progress. This year, $.25 from each ticket sold on her 1998 concert tour, which includes 42 shows, will go toward supporting the HHLC and other areas of research and education.

Know a college freshman interested in science?
In addition to the HHLC, and public education forums, the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation hosts a six-week Cardiovascular Summer Student Program for first year college students who are pre-med or majoring in the sciences. This intensive course allows students to "follow in the footsteps" of a physician eight hours a day and participate in research projects.

For information, call the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation at (602) 266-2200, extension 4635.

Jeanne A. Cahill, C.H.E.S. (Certified Health Education Specialist) is a nutrition consultant and health educator in the private practice in Tempe. She can be reached at Nutrition & Health Education Resources (602) 491-8171.

Stevie Nicks Heart of Gold

Valley residents can help the Nicks family fight heart disease through education and research at a special benefit for the foundation in conjunction with Nicksí concert Thursday, July 23, 1998, at the America West Arena. Nicks has donated 1,000 reserved seats for the benefit. The luxury concert package will include champagne, transportation, dinner, and a midnight party with Nicks and her band.

Ticket prices range from $200-$500. For more information about the Stevie Nicks benefit concert, please contact the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation at (602) 266-2200, ext. 4619.


Thanks to Debbi Radford for sending this article to The Nicks Fix.
The Nicks Fix main page