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February is American Heart Month, and just one week after the nationwide push to bring awareness to heart disease is over, the spotlight on heart disease awareness and prevention will shine on Broward County. The American Heart Association will be hosting the 2013-2014 Broward Heart Walk on Saturday, March 8. The walk, which will be five kilometers in length, will be held on the campus of Nova Southeastern University (3301 College Ave., Fort Lauderdale); activities begin at 8 a.m. and the walk will start at 9 a.m. from the front of the Alvin Sherman library. Enter via the north entrance (past the Miami Dolphins training facility) and park in the garage adjacent on the right.

The American Heart Association hopes to curb, and eventually eradicate, heart disease among the general population by targeting certain at-risk groups. The black population of South Florida, just like the black population in the United States, is at higher risk for developing heart disease and having strokes than other racial groups. The American Heart Association also recognizes the threat of heart disease among women, as it is the #1 killer of women over the age of 25. It is also a threat to young adults, who are overweight and obese like no generation that came of age before them.

The American Heart Association and related organizers hope to raise $500,000 with the Broward Heart Walk. As of press time, they have raised just over $290,000. Walkers are encouraged to sign up on the Heart Walk website, browardheartwalk.kintera.org, and to utilize it to raise donations. Walkers who raise more than $100 qualify for a commemorative 2013-2014 Broward Heart Walk T-shirt. Many companies will match donations that walkers receive; consult the Heart Walk website to see if your employer will participate in the matching gift program.

Sponsors of this year’s Broward Heart Walk include Holy Cross Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Coventry Health Care, JM Family Enterprises, Regions Bank, Solstice Benefits, Memorial Healthcare System, Morgan Stanley, Vitas Innovative Hospice Care and City College Fort Lauderdale. For event inquiries, call Jessie Spicer at (954) 364-5096.

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