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Lifestyle Makeover Promotes Heart Health In White Plains

June Burke (left) and Janice Barnes (right) are two of 15 participants in the American Heart Association's BetterU makeover challenge, sponsored by White Plains Hospital. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
The BetterU Makeover challenge kicked off Thursday at White Plains Hospital. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – June Burke, of White Plains, will get a lifestyle makeover during the next 12 weeks. She is one of 15 local women chosen for the American Heart Association’s BetterU Challenge, which kicked off Thursday.

Burke will turn 50 this year, she said. This got her thinking about her mother, who died of heart disease 24 years ago, at age 52.

“This is a no-brainer for me,” said Burke, who is mindful of her diet but had not been working out. “I need that kick- start to help motivate me to exercise again.”

The BetterU Challenge, which takes place at White Plains Hospital, is a 12-week women’s heart health program. It is designed to remind women to make healthy lifestyle choices that can prevent heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women in America, according to the AHA.

More than 80 percent of heart disease can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes like exercise, diet and managing risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol, Greg Plage, executive director of the AHA, said Thursday

As part of the program, participants will get free baseline medical evaluations from White Plains Hospital, free 12-week memberships to Will2Lose, a gym in Scarsdale, and free nutritional advise, among other resources.

Geralyn Plomitallo, dietician and nutrition manager at White Plains Hospital, will work with participants. Thursday, she said diet alone is not enough and must be combined with exercise to achieve your goal, whether that be weight loss or heart health.

Burke paid close attention to Plomitallo, as well as to Vito DiMatteo, a personal trainer from Will2Lose gym. He cited the AHA, which tells us that for every hour you spend walking, you increase your life expectancy by two years. Additionally, 30 minutes of daily exercise reduces your cardiovascular risk,

“The stories of these 15 women are compelling pictures of the complex health and lifestyle challenges many women face today," said Dawn French, vice president of public relations, marketing and community outreach at White Plains Hospital. "We are proud to be able to play a part in their quest for better health and wellness, and know they will inspire us greatly over the next 12 weeks."

Follow the progress of BetterU participants online and on Facebook .

The AHA encourages all women to learn about their risk for heart disease and take steps to improve their heart health.

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