Public Health Says: Happy Valentine’s Day

Feb 14, 2013, 2:10 PM

Public health departments and schools of public health across the country are showing the love this Valentine’s Day. Many have loaded great ideas for healthy hearts and happy lives on their home pages, Twitter feeds and  Facebook pages:

  • The Massachusetts Department of Health offers (somewhat) healthy  Valentine’s Day chocolate ideas.  
  • The Lexington-Fayette County (Kentucky) Health Department wants to salute American Heart Month (February) by having people wear red for Valentine’s Day and share photos through the department’s  Twitter feed or Facebook page.
  • A community health clinic in Yolo County, Calif., is holding its annual Valentine’s Day diaper drive.
  • Our Favorite: A Valentine’s Day infographic from the Ohio State University College of Public Health gives healthy AND romantic tips for the day. Best idea—take romantic walks! [See full infographic below.]

>>Bonus Link: Whether you mailed a card or not, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a virtual rack full of Valentine’s Day health-e (get it?) cards, with all the gush, and plenty of heart-healthy ideas.

>>Bonus App: In observance of Valentine’s Day the Million Hearts Initiative, a national program launched last year by the Department of Health and Human Services to help prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over five years, has announced the winner of its app challenge to help prevent heart disease. The app, called Heart Health Mobile, was created by the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation and was one of 35 entries in the contest.

Heart Health Mobile provides information about a person’s risk for heart disease based on answers to questions about height, weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking status. In areas with participating pharmacies and other retail clinics, the app steers users to nearby locations for cholesterol and blood-pressure screening. One app feature tracks users’ histories and lets people see if they have made progress on measures such as cholesterol and blood pressure levels. 

Heart Health Mobile works on Apple iOS tablets, iPhones, and iPod Touch devices and can be downloaded free of charge. The Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation will release a version that works on other devices next month.

file Valentine's Day health infographic, courtesy of Ohio State University College of Public Health

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.