It's been less than a month, but Kickstart Your Health Little Rock has already made huge strides in helping our city get healthy and feel good! Now, it's still not too late to sign up for the free and fun 21-day healthy challenge that began Feb. 1. But first let me share with you some of the health-inspiring events that have happened around town in the past few weeks.
It all started on Jan. 7, when Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., whose nonprofit organization developed Kickstart, joined me for several TV interviews to let everyone know about the Kickstart and invite them to a screening of the documentary Forks Over Knives, which examines the power of plant-based foods to combat chronic disease.
Later that day, Dr. Barnard, my husband, Jason Beck, M.D., and I joined Mayor Mark Stodola as he presented a proclamation supporting the Kickstart program.
The powerfully worded proclamation didn't merely recognize the Kickstart--it urged citizens to actively get involved in improving their health and well-being: "The Office of the Mayor encourages residents, businesses, and health care professionals to participate in the Kickstart Your Health Little Rock initiative by attending a public event, pledging to change your diet, or encouraging your school or business to get on board."
The next day, more than 300 people attended a standing-room-only screening of Forks Over Knives. Following the screening, Dr. Barnard, local cardiovascular surgeon Dr. C.D. Williams, and my husband and I led a lively panel discussion for attendees who wanted to learn more about how they could improve their health with a plant-based diet.
Dr. Barnard delivered free lectures at local hospitals and the Arkansas Department of Health during his visit as well. And after an unprecedented response from an article about the Kickstart Your Health Little Rock initiative in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette on January 19th, I was humbled to witness all 40 seats in the free Food For Life Kickstart Your Health 6-class series I'm teaching become reserved literally overnight (with even more Little Rock citizens on the waiting list)!
What's next? The free online 21-Day Kickstart began Feb. 1, but it isn't too late to join! You can still sign up today at KickstartLittleRock.org, and you'll begin receiving daily e-mails on Feb. 1 that give you access to an online nutrition program with a 21-day meal plan, recipes, cooking videos, and nutrition tips (and it is free even if you don't live in Little Rock).
Why February? February is American Heart Month, and Feb. 6 is National Wear Red Day--which specifically focuses on heart disease in women. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for both men and women in America.
Here in Arkansas, we have the fifth highest heart disease death rate and the highest stroke death rate in the nation. Currently, the state has about 200,000 heart disease cases. In just 15 years, we'll have more than 800,000. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, total hospital charges in Arkansas for cardiovascular disease in 2009 totaled over $2.1 billion dollars. With these staggering statistics, how can we not afford to Kickstart Little Rock?
Don't wait a minute longer to take control of your heart health! Do it for yourself, your family, and your friends. Go to KickstartLittleRock.org and sign up today. Together, we're going to make Little Rock the healthiest city in the U.S.A.