Highland Park - On February 20th, Parker Home® presented a free Heart Health Fair for the community at their Pavilion location on River Road. Highlights of the event included free health screenings provided by St. Peter’s Community Mobile Health Services of St. Peter’s Hospital in New Brunswick and a well-attended lecture entitled, “Cardiac Risk Factors: Prevention and Management,” presented by Dr. David E. Jacob, Chief of Cardiology at St. Peter’s University Hospital.
St. Peter’s Community Mobile Health Services provided blood pressure and cholesterol screenings to forty health conscious attendees. The crowd of nearly sixty participants also learned about heart healthy exercises from Anne Ang, a personal fitness trainer at Parker Home. Lori Morell, Senior Manager at Parker Home’s Center for Healthy Aging, engaged the audience in a discussion on staying young, healthy and fit.
After a free heart-healthy lunch, participants attended an hour-long talk about cardiac risk factors, given by Dr. David E. Jacob. “Laughter may be the best medicine, but exercise is the best preventative measure to avoid heart disease,” said Dr. Jacob. “Walk, move, and don’t be sedentary. Exercise is the answer to just about everything.”
So what’s the best exercise? “The best exercise is one that you’ll do,” according to Dr. Jacobs. "Walking is great and an exercise I highly recommend,” he said.
Additional advice included avoiding high sodium foods, keeping your weight under control, managing cholesterol levels, limiting fatty foods and eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Dr. Jacob’s advice comes from not only his expertise as Chief of Cardiology at St. Peters, but also from firsthand experience. The Highland Park native once found himself 50 pounds overweight and on the verge of a heart attack. He decided that a lifestyle change was in order and it was time to follow the same advice he gives to his patients.
Adamant about avoiding fads and crash dieting, Jacob lost weight by reducing his portion sizes to half the amount he previously consumed. He took up exercise and decided to just keep moving as much as possible. By continuing to maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan, he kept the weight off. Currently, his exercise routine includes running marathons and swimming on a regular basis. Recently, he and his family have adopted a vegetarian diet, too.
“Another important measure is to monitor your blood pressure,” he said during the presentation. “The key to lowering blood pressure is watching your salt intake.” Dr. Jacobs explained that some foods like cold cuts, cheeses, meats and many processed foods tend to be very salty, so you may not realize how much salt you are consuming.
Another preventative measure is to limit alcohol consumption. “Everything in moderation,” he advises. One small glass of wine, for example, is fine for most people.
Dr. Jacob’s presentation covered healthy levels for cholesterol and triglycerides. He also discussed diabetes and avoiding “white foods” including pasta, bread, white potatoes, white rice and processed foods. Lastly, he stressed drinking plenty of water instead of consuming sugary or diet drinks.
Abraham Hyman, a resident at Parker Home, commented that he was “glad to see a program like this at Parker.” Gloria Covino, a New Brunswick resident, believed that the presentation was “superb and extremely informative.”
Parker Home provides frequent programs for its residents as well as the community-at-large. Parker has a long-standing reputation of providing the ultimate in personalized, affordable high quality long-term care services in a home-like setting for over 100 years. Guided by the principles of the Eden Alternative®, Parker embraces and nurtures aging as a natural stage of life to be celebrated with compassion and enthusiasm.