Ladies First Promotes Heart Health

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2009
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Linda Scoville’s neighbors are surprised to see her hiking briskly through the snow on her daily 30 to 60 minute winter outings. Three months and 12 pounds ago, Scoville was screened for heart disease through the Vermont Department of Health’s Ladies First program, and decided to take action. She filled out a Ladies First goal sheet and rated her “readiness to change” at 10 on a scale of one to 10.

A family history of heart disease and seeing her screening results pushed Scoville out into the snow with a pedometer on her belt and a goal of walking 10,000 steps each day. She also reduced her portion sizes at meals, and makes use of the healthy recipes in the Ladies First cookbook.

“I’ve tried several of the recipes already,” she said. “I’m discovering a whole new way to eat.”

Ladies First is a breast and cervical cancer and cardiovascular risk factor screening program that can – and does – save lives. The program has screened nearly 11,000 women for breast and cervical cancer since 1995, and 4,500 women for heart disease since adding the screening program in 2002. One in four women die from heart disease, and most women fail to make the connection between their personal risk factors and the chances of developing a disease that can be prevented.

February is American Heart Month, a time to promote heart disease awareness and encourage everyone to take steps to prevent and control risk factors.

"Choosing health behaviors, including good nutrition and physical activity and avoidance of tobacco use can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD. “Women who are aware of their risk, and choose to do something about it, can truly lower their risk.”

Ladies First provides support to change, such as smoking cessation help that can markedly reduce health risks and instill lifelong behavior change. In addition to her fitness program, Scoville works with a program nutritionist for additional guidance and support.

“I started right before Thanksgiving and decided I wasn’t going to let the holiday season get in the way of my success,” she said. “I have a goal now and I am going to reach it.”

Ladies First provides free screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and heart health for eligible Vermont women. The program also offers free nutrition counseling and support for healthy lifestyle changes to Ladies First members over 40 years old.

For more information call 1-800-508-2222 or go to: www.LadiesFirstVt.org.

For Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals, please use Vermont Relay Service 711 and give our number: 1-800-508-2222.

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