Humor Enhances New Heart Campaign For Hispanics
There's nothing funny about getting heart disease. But now humor is being used to help prevent it.
A little humor and the latest technology are part of a new awareness campaign Pase La Voz - part of the American Heart Association's Conozca Su Corazon heart-health program for Hispanics.
Beginning May 26, individuals will have three months to sign up to receive a free, weekly health message in Spanish or English sent to their mobile devices for the next 45 weeks. The messages will include information on risk factors, prevention, healthy cooking and physical activity.
Participants can receive Spanish messages by texting the word "CORAZON" to 5-2-7-3-3 or by texting the word "HEART" to 5-2-7-3-3 to receive English messages.
They can also visit ConozcaSuCorazon.org to access Pase La Voz audio messages, ring tones and wallpapers.
Mobile users can download and forward lighthearted audio health messages to family and friends. The messages are voiced by comedians Bill Santiago, who has made various appearances on Comedy Central, and Rafael Sigler, whose voice has been used in Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Ugly Betty.
"You have to discipline yourself. Reach for a piece of fruit once in a while and skip the fries. Go to the gym, take a walk, put on some music and dance instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV. It's about taking the baby steps that become habits. You can't do it all at once," Santiago said. "Anything that I can do to raise awareness, I am happy to do, because I believe in the message. Your body and your health are the most precious gifts you have. That's no joke."
Each year more than 36,000 Hispanics in the United States die of diseases of the heart -- the country's No. 1 killer. Studies report lower awareness levels among Hispanics in regards to heart disease risk factors and their impact on quality of life.
Dr. Ismael Nuno, a cardiac surgeon with Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center and American Heart Association physician spokesperson, points out that the association is reaching Hispanics where they are with critical health messages relevant to them via technology in which they are actively engaged.
"Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Hispanics in America. Straightforward recommendations via the weekly Pase La Voz health messages to the Hispanic audience will be an effective tool in educating them on simple steps toward becoming heart healthy," Nuno said. "This concerted effort will go a long way to help prevent heart disease and an early death among Hispanics."