Help the American Heart Association By Buying What?

I read today on Facebook that a local Chick-Fil-A is sponsoring what I describe as a “happy hour for milkshakes” with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the American Heart Association. I don’t have anything against Chick-Fil-A, but does it seem odd to anyone else that they’re hawking milkshakes to raise money for the American Heart Association?

Consider this:

  • Being overweight is considered a major risk factor for both coronary heart disease and heart attacks.
  • Being 20% overweight or more significantly increases your risk for developing heart disease, especially if you have a lot of abdominal fat.
  • The American Heart Association has found that even if you have no other related health conditions, obesity itself increases risk of heart disease.
  • Excessive weight also increases blood pressure (hypertension), causing your heart to work too hard and increasing your risk of heart disease.
  • An additional scary consequence of extra weight is an increased probability of angina-related chest pains and “sudden death” heart attacks (coming without earlier symptoms).
  • Losing 5% to 10% of your extra weight will lower your danger risk and put you on the road toward healthy body chemistry.

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight and thus at increased risk for heart disease, and fast food and sweets are associated weight gain. I understand the “all things in moderation” argument and often put it into practice. I also know that Chick-Fil-A will generate more money for the cause by selling milkshakes over something healthier like kale. However, this promotion seems more than a bit misguided to me.

Bottom Line:

  • Really want a milkshake? Get a really good one, have enough to satisfy your craving and eat healthy the rest of the day.
  • Want to help wipe out heart disease? Donate your milkshake money to the American Heart Association, where just $5 can teach more than 100 adults to recognize the signs of a heart attack or stroke and how to administer CPR or use a defibrillator.

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