Friday, July 18, 2014

22 CEOs Join Up With American Heart Association Initiative

healthy tomato healthy living
Make healthier choices!
Image: via Flickr
I’ve talked before about how close to home heart disease is for me. With a history of it in my family, and with a (for now) harmless heart murmer myself, heart problems are a very real, and very scary thing. It’s the biggest killer in America, and quite frankly, we often don’t do nearly enough to prevent it—often waiting until our lives are in grave danger to realize we should have made smarter, healthier choices.

I think that we are living in rapidly changing times, however. It feels like we’re finally moving past the era where we buy all our meals pre-packaged and processed, and more into an era where we’re getting back to the basics and trying to be healthier. I know this isn’t true for many people, but I’ve noticed a general shift in attitude in recent years—especially since obesity has become such a prevalent problem in our society. I hope I’m right and that we’re collectively making this change for the better.

I wanted to share with you a story I read in the news that really cheered me – an announcement that 22 CEOs of major companies are partnering up with the American Heart Association to help employees lead healthier lives. The initiative is called the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable, and addresses a common problem—our tendency to over-estimate how healthy we really are, which can lead to problems like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and a myriad other problems.

CEOs like Henry R. Kravis (KKR), Nancy Brown (AHA), and Terry Lundgren (Macy’s) have stepped up to the plate in regards to employee health. The most exciting part? The initiative aims to “make healthy choices the default choices,” which I whole-heartedly believe is integral to leading a healthy life. Enough with the extreme diets, the constant battle—we need a complete shift in mindset, where we’re leading a healthy lifestyle, not just picking and choosing.

"The AHA CEO Roundtable is uniquely positioned to create real changes in health and wellness by engaging more than 2 million people where they spend most of their day—at work," said Henry R. Kravis, co-CEO of KKR. "We are taking what we know—from the CEO Roundtable companies, leading doctors and scientists, and this new data—and combining it with the expertise of the AHA to make a meaningful impact on our employees' health."

It’s estimated that about 200,000 lives could be saved every year from heart disease—simply by making healthier lifestyle choices. Now that’s something worth fighting for.