One in three adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and many don’t know their numbers, which could put them at greater risk of heart attack and stroke. Getting regular blood pressure checks is an important part of a heart disease prevention plan for people young and old.
With this in mind, nursing students, faculty and staff gathered outside the Math and Social Sciences building at San Diego City College (SDCC) today to offer free blood pressure screenings to students and teachers passing by as part of Love Your Heart day. Each year, the County of San Diego teams up with tens of partners in San Diego and Mexico with the goal of screening more than 20,000 people on a single designated day in February.
The nurses in training at SDCC offered helpful tips to each participant in the Love Your Heart event and also gained experience providing preventative care.
“Today’s event has been great practice in using a manual blood pressure cuff,” said Quyen Le, pictured in red above, a first year student in the San Diego City College nursing program. “I feel good knowing that I’m helping students learn what to do to prevent heart disease.”
SDCC is committed to helping students live healthy lifestyles, not just for heart disease prevention but to reduce all chronic disease risk factors. Formally recognized by the County as a Live Well San Diego partner, SDCC launched their Step Up to Live Well! campaign in 2013 with the goal of improving the health of their campus including students, faculty and staff.
The campaign includes three focus areas a: 1) to increase physical fitness, 2) to improve nutrition and 3) to promote behavioral health. Supporting programs include a one mile walking course on campus, a healthy options menu offered by campus food services and ongoing mental health education.
“It’s really exciting to be participating in Love Your Heart as an extension of our Step Up to Live Well! campaign,” said SDCC Outreach Mentor Rebecca Aricheta. “I love seeing all the participants taking an active step to know more about their heart health today.”
To keep the wellness message going strong, SDCC is launching a 30 Days of Wellness social media campaign in March. They are challenging students and faculty to Step Up for 30 days by posting text or a photo demonstrating how they are living well every day on their social media profiles. By adding #stepupfor30days and #stepuptolivewell to each post, participants can get involved in the social movement for living well at SDCC.
For many students and faculty, today’s Love Your Heart event was an opportunity to begin to engage in the greater conversation on campus about wellness, as well as an occasion to do something good for themselves.
As first year nursing student Jimmy Sivongsay, pictured above with SDCC District Police officer Lokeni Parker, eloquently described it, “Today is about love. Love your heart. Love yourself.”
SDCC nursing student Quyen Le checks the blood pressure of Outreach Mentor Rebecca Aricheta
SDCC Project Specialist Kirsten Kessler and Rebecca Aricheta highlight the Step Up to Live Well! campaign