Nothing like a walk to raise awareness of heart health
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent April 2, 2014 11:42PM
ArcelorMittal employees at the Burns Harbor plant take off on a walk Wednesay at the plants Deerfield Woods Training Center for National Walking Day, sponsored by the American Heart Association. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 5, 2014 8:23AM
BURNS HARBOR — Jason Petre got his picture taken Wednesday while he held a sign that read, “I pledge to eliminate my cardiovascular disease risks.”
Petre, an engineer in ArcelorMittal’s quality assurance department, was taking part in National Walking Day, sponsored by the American Heart Association.
“I had a family history of heart disease, especially on my dad’s side. Two years ago, I was pushing 275 pounds,” the Valparaiso resident said, adding he’s down to 185 pounds. “My wife decided to start a lifestyle change and asked me to join her.”
Since then, the couple has minimized eating out and taken a healthier approach to food choices, as well as working out at the Valparaiso Family YMCA five or six times a week. He also started running and has gotten his cholesterol and triglycerides under control.
The walk, conducted on the walking path at the steel mill’s Deerfield Woods Training Center, attracted about 50 employees.
The lunchtime walk was less than a mile, but it’s third year the mill has participated in the event, said Ryan Johnson, communications director for the Midwest affiliate of the heart association. The event also kicked off the “Take the Pledge” program.
One in two men and one in three women are at risk for heart disease, said John Engel, vice president and general manager of the Burns Harbor plant, adding that walking 30 minutes a day can reduce heart disease.
“Improving our lifestyle can help push that risk elsewhere and improve our quality of life in the meantime,” he said.