A Billion Calories Burned by 2020?

The American Heart Association has set that goal and encourages walkers to sign up and have their calories tallied. "One in two men and one in three women are at risk for heart disease, and research shows that poor lifestyle is a major contributor," said AHA President Elect Donna Arnett, Ph.D.

The American Heart Association has begun the "Billion Calorie Count-UP," describing it as "a new multi-year, nationwide goal aimed at encouraging Americans to collectively burn one billion calories by the year 2020." Jennie Finch, a star softball pitcher who helped the U.S. women's softball team win a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, took part in the April 4 launch.

AHA will count the calories burned by individual walkers at Heart Walks nationwide and add them to the total. To participate in the "Billion Calorie Count-UP," visit www.heart.org/myheartmylife to find a Heart Walk in your area.

"When I was playing softball, I used to spend countless hours training to keep my body in top shape. That was my day job. Luckily, for most Americans, staying in shape is a lot simpler, and this year, it can start with a brisk daily walk," said Finch, who is also an AHA spokesperson. "I'm thrilled to be working with the American Heart Association to launch the 'Billion Calorie Count-UP' and supporting their commitment to improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by at least 20 percent by the year 2020."

"Statistics show that research shows that poor lifestyle is a major contributor," said AHA President Elect Donna Arnett, Ph.D., professor and chair of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "From walking clubs and paths to cooking tips and easy-made recipes, the American Heart Association's 'My Heart. My Life.' healthy-living initiative is working to help individuals and families understand how to get active and eat healthy –- all part of the American Heart Association's 2020 goal. Don't stop with signing up for Heart Walk; use the American Heart Association Walking Clubs and Walking Paths to keep you walking every day."

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