Recently, I joined my fellow employees at Frito-Lay headquarters at a kick-off event for the 2013 American Heart Association (AHA) Dallas Heart Walk in Dallas. We are proud to be the second highest corporate contributor to our local Heart Walk, second only to the AHA! Our kick-off event was an opportunity for associates to learn how we can help the AHA encourage healthy lifestyles and also support cardiovascular research and education among our peers, families and friends.
While we snacked on fresh fruit and Muller Greek Corner yogurt, a variety of speakers shared their stories with us. One speaker in particular, who spoke about resilience, was especially inspiring to me. Ethan, a remarkably strong 12-year-old boy, talked about his life suffering from chronic heart disease, and how he's refused to let it limit what he can do. Despite more than a dozen surgeries and a pacemaker, he has led a normal childhood, which includes plenty of time playing his favorite sport, racquetball.
As a company, part of our goal this year is to raise awareness about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States. Below are a few fast facts on heart disease and prevention.
- More than 600,000 Americans every year are killed by some form of heart disease.
- The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attack.
- Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually
- Every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 190,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
- Regular exercise, a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, stress management and not smoking are things anyone can do to reduce his or her risk of heart disease.
As we get closer to the big Heart Walk event in September, Frito-Lay and PepsiCo employees here at our headquarters office have an opportunity to share their heart healthy pledges via a chalkboard posted in our cafeteria. Mine is as follows: I pledge to keep my heart healthy so I can continue to lead an active lifestyle. Let me know your heart healthy pledge in the comments below, and join us for Dallas Heart Walk on September 7, 2013.