University of Idaho freshman Emily Pinkney lost one of her best friends to heart disease a few years ago. She said that”s why when she saw the passion the women of Alpha Phi had for their philanthropy, the Alpha Phi Foundation for women”s heart health, her decision to rush the house was easy.
“I had an idea of where I wanted to be,” said Pinkney, now the Alpha Phi Red Dress chair. “I broke down that day in recruitment.”
One-in-three women die of heart disease, making it the No. 1 leading cause of death in women, according to the American Heart Association.
Pinkney said her friend”s death was unexpected because young women don”t often think about heart health.
“Especially when you”re young, you don”t know,” Pinkney said.
Pinkney and rest of the women of Alpha Phi are hosting Take it To Heart Week this week to increase awareness of heart disease.
“We”re very passionate about this week,” Pickney said. “We”re excited to be spreading and raising awareness about women”s heart health.”
Friday is national Wear Red Day, created by the American Heart Association. The women of Alpha Phi will sell chocolate roses in the Idaho Commons Friday to fundraise for the cause. For those in a Greek house, the roses will be hand-delivered, and anyone else can pick up their roses when purchasing.
UI Greek houses can also compete to be the winners of Take it to Heart Week by accumulating points, which can be earned by taking part in various activities throughout the week.
Houses can also win points by posting pictures with #UITakesItToHeart.
UI Greek students can also participate in Alpha PhiFa, a five-on-five soccer tournament 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at West Park Elementary.
There, they will have buckets with each house”s name for donations. Adding cash to your house”s bucket increases your points, while adding change to another house decreases their points, said Alpha Phi Vice President of Marketing Kendal Stopher.
Stopher said they raised about $3,000 last year, but hopes to raise more money this year with the addition of the soccer tournament as an event.
Marissa Rudley, UI campus dietician, said there are five known lifestyle factors that can affect the chances of developing heart disease: smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity and weight.
Rudley said people should avoid smoking, eat a Mediterranean diet, do some sort of physical movement daily, maintain a healthy weight and only consume alcohol in moderate amounts – about a glass a day for women.
“All those things are pretty universal,” Rudley said.
Even a student”s smallest decisions today can help prepare them for a healthier future, Rudley said.
“Those really add up and pay back over a lifetime,” Rudley said.