Heart health among American Indian community will be focus of powwow in Oklahoma

The American Heart Association will present Honoring the Beat of Life, an intertribal powwow, on Saturday in Concho. The goal of the powwow is to encourage American Indians to learn more about controlling blood pressure and preventing heart disease.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: November 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm •  Published: November 3, 2012

— A powwow on Saturday will focus on teaching people about the importance of heart health.

The American Heart Association will present Honoring the Beat of Life, an intertribal powwow, on Saturday at the Concho Community Hall.

Rachel Crawford, director of Native American outreach for the American Heart Association, said this is the first time that the American Heart Association has held a powwow in Oklahoma.

“We know change doesn't happen overnight,” Crawford said. “It happens in small stages, so we want to start that inkling of change in their minds by providing the education and awareness and showing them where the resources are.”

Crawford said the organization decided to host the event because of the high incidence of heart disease among American Indians.

Also, American Indian women are at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American Indians. Plus, American Indians and natives of Alaska die of heart disease at younger ages than any other ethnic group in the United States.

About 36 percent of those who die of heart disease die before age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.