Reducing Stress – Building Awareness – Saving Lives

April 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Joan Enderle

Joan Enderle – Go Red North Dakota

Impact Goal:  “The American Heart Association is working to improve cardiovascular health. . .by 20%, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20% – by 2020.”

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, was an early part of my life. When I was young, my grandfather had his second heart attack and first stroke; he came to live with us for a period of time during his recovery.  His first heart attack and my grandmother’s death from open heart surgery to repair a damaged heart valve, both happened before I was born.

Therefore, it was no surprise that I decided to do something about it.  My work with heart disease goes back to my college days as a dietitian intern. Later, as a registered dietitian, my work continued at Jamestown Hospital.  I saw patients one-on-one and in group settings as part of the cardiac rehab team;  I worked in the community teaching classes and programs.

The research knowledge was expanding quickly at this time.  It recognized that a healthy lifestyle – diet and exercise, in addition to stress management – not only treated cardiovascular disease; healthy lifestyle also prevented it.

Current research has proven that 80% of heart disease in women is preventable with a healthy lifestyle.

5 Healthy Generations

With a passion for heart disease prevention and the opportunity to expand my professional impact from one life at a time, to a statewide reach affecting thousands — I jumped at the chance to direct the American Heart Association’s Go Red North Dakota Initiative (funded by Dakota Medical Foundation).

Go Red ND, thanks to the committed community volunteers and media partners, has reached all corners of North Dakota with our lifesaving message.   Over 15,000 women have joined the movement; which means North Dakota leads the country in engagement per capita.   90% have made one (or more) lifestyle change, including 60% making diet changes and/or increased physical activity levels.     Death rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke are dropping for both women and men as awareness rises.

However, there is more work to do as overweight and obesity rates continue to be high (65% of adults) in North Dakota.  Further improvements in physical activity and diet are needed to meet the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple Seven .


Miss ND Goes Red

The Go Red For Women movement was established to fight women’s #1 health threat.  Launched in 2006  to improve the cardiovascular health of women and their families in North Dakota, a multi-faceted approach was taken, with project components in 4 key areas:

  1. Community funded educational and lifestyle change activities targeted to women, ages 35-55, in over 20 communities across the state
  2. Worksite based lifestyle intervention projects in Bismarck, Fargo, and Jamestown, with a research component
  3. Healthcare provider education and engagement in recently released practice guidelines for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women
  4. A statewide media campaign

The first year was focused on raising awareness of heart disease as the leading cause of death of women; and education on the risk factors, as well as the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.   The second year expanded to include “know your numbers” – a push for all women to know their heart health numbers and complete a risk assessment.   Subsequent years have focused on taking action to reduce risk, primarily through community based lifestyle challenges.


Want to make a life saving, healthy lifestyle change of your own?

Learn your Heart Score and the seven simple steps to prevent heart disease at

Visit these sites:

Go Red North Dakota

Simple Stress Solutions – Workplace Wellness

Go Red For Women – American Heart Association

Go Red For Women

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Stress and Your Health I See You See Me


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