Declaring February as National Heart Health Month might seem like a warning aimed for those who enjoy indulging in a bit of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Fortunately, a study in Germany last year suggested a link may exist between chocolate consumption and lower blood pressure, lowered risk of strokes and a lowered risk of heart attack. Moderation is the key, of course, since chocolate also has a rather high amount of calories and saturated fats.
Getting back to the subject at hand, we here in the TM offices decided to take a look at what came up in the search engines for various incarnations of heart health, view the sites and share our thoughts.
American Heart Association (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/)
Our first visit is to the American Heart Association, a hodgepodge of good information disguised in an outdated site with convoluted navigation and no discernable Site Map that we could find. They do take part in social media, but good luck finding that on their site unless it’s by accident. The problem is that it seems there"s so much information to share that it becomes a jumble. Clear navigation, a site map and a simpler layout would go a long way here. Even their homepage had us wondering if it was really a homepage or a redirect somewhere else.
CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/)
Ironically, the best information we found on the web about heart disease in the US came from the CDC. It immediately stops you with its statistic that an American will have a coronary event about every 25 seconds! And yes, it’s only a single page on the CDC’s site—it really needs to be broken down, something we’ll forgive that for the moment—but there’s straight up information on knowing the signs and symptoms, secondhand smoke exposure, diet and nutrition, exercise and fitness, quick facts for women and heart disease, a WISEWOMAN program many easy-to-find links for more information. This was much easier to follow than the AHA’s site.
British Heart Foundation (http://www.bhf.org.uk/)
The third site that came up was the British Heart Foundation in the UK. Despite looking a bit busy on the page, it strength lies in that it’s welcoming, the navigation is easier to follow, social media is prominent and, hey, there’s a sitemap link at the bottom of the page! This is a colorful site to boot, which definitely helps with looking inviting. One tends to think of doom and gloom when about such subjects, but when you have a site like this that’s both inviting and easy to navigate, it goes a long to making a visitor want to stay there and search for information.
Those are the major sites that came up in our search. As for practical advice we might offer up for the month, the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com) suggests five strategies assisting you in preventing heart problems that are worth noting. The first is one folks have been hearing for years and many still ignore; don’t smoke or use tobacco. The others include exercising for 30 minutes most days of the week, having a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular health screenings. By following those suggestions, you’ll be helping Trademark Productions celebrate National Heart Health Month for years to come!