Friday, February 3, 2017 marked National Wear Red Day throughout the United States of America. National Wear Red Day falls on the first Friday in February, which makes this year the 15th year since the initial National Wear Red Day took place. Kean University's Center of Leadership and Service (CLS) and Student Health Services joined American Heart Association's (AHA) fight against heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
In the past, National Wear Red Day was initially observed because heart disease was the number one leading cause of death of women in the United States. As time passed, National Wear Red Day not only applies to women, but to men as well.
Janelle Shepherd, junior psychology major, health minor, is a service specialist for CLS that helped out with hosting the tables in the Miron Student Center.
"National Wear Red Day means a lot to me because I'm providing awareness - that's so important to not only women's health, but health in general," Shepherd said. "The heart is the core of life."
Students and faculty of Kean University were invited on this day to wear red, showing their support for this day. It was considered an easy, yet powerful way, to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease and stroke in both men and women.
In the Miron Student Center (MSC), there were informational tables filled with information regarding heart health, personal health, healthy foods and health facts.
There are many ways to prevent heart disease and eating red foods can help with that. According to the "Let's Eat Red" display, there are many foods and snacks that help with health and prevention. By incorporating these foods in daily meals, students and faculty can lower their risk of getting heart disease. Fruit smoothies, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, dark chocolate, almonds, pistachios, granola and walnuts all help improve the heart. Foods like pomegranate, red grapes, raspberries, apples and tomatoes really help with lowering the risks of heart disease.
- Pomegranate has antioxidants that reduce inflammation of the heart.
- Red grapes, also rich in antioxidants, lower blood pressure, reduces inflammation and heart muscle damage.
- Raspberries contains anthocyanins that help reduce heart disease.
- Apples help reduce heart disease and contain a variety of antioxidants to reduce inflammation.
- Last but not least, tomatoes are a great source of vitamins and contain an important lycopene which reduces heart disease.
People were informed of foods that increase blood pressure, such as salad dressings, pickles and olives, frozen entrees, soup, bread and crackers.
Students that were interested could also get their blood pressure checked by a health specialist. It provided a quick insight for students to check on their personal health.
In addition to having their blood pressure checked, students could participate in an activity where food shopping was simulated as they picked up every day items in a grocery store and placed them in their shopping cart. They were then able to learn about the items they selected and discovered if what they placed in their cart was healthy and learned of the nutrition facts of those items that were not healthy.
"National Wear Red Day doesn't apply to only women now, but everyone in general. It's important to me because of family history, it hits close to home," said Mathew Garry, junior psychology major and CLS service specialist. "People should get to know the facts."
Fit to be Kean, a program presented by Student Health Services at Kean University, had an informational table for students to check out. Fit to be Kean hosts many events that help Kean University students stay in shape and stay healthy. The spring 2017 semester schedule for Fit to Be Kean activities are posted on Cougar Link but can also be found at: http://www.cougarsbyte.com/article/2017/02/feel-the-burn.
James Beaty, graduate assistant for Fit to be Kean, was on had to provided information on Fit to Be Kean. As an undergraduate student, he was a global fitness and wellness major and now he is helping promote fitness and wellness as a graduate student.
"National Wear Red Day is important because it makes you aware of your health and your heart. Some people take your health for granted and wish they took care of it more when they reach an old age. With an event like this and Fit to be Kean, we play a role for students by advocating exercise and promoting longevity. Overall, we spread awareness," Beaty said. "This is especially important for college students because as an undergrad student, I wasn't completely informed. Sure I had classes and learned some stuff from high school, but my time at Kean University really helped me learn so much more than what I previously knew."
After visiting all the tables in the MSC, students could take a picture with the National Wear Red Day frame or with the Kean Cougar and post it on Instagram.
The campus community was also invited to make a donation at the Wear Red Day table in the MSC Alumni Atrium or in the CLS office located in MSC room 219. Even with a $1 donation, all funds will help out a greater cause and students will receive a red dress pin. It is also possible to donate online today at http://honor.americanheart.org/goto/keanuniversity. Students will need to click the "DONATE to Kean University!" button and after that, they can decide how much to donate.