Becoming "Heart Healthy," Step 2

Step 2 of the American Heart Association's Simple 7 Plan is “Control Cholesterol.”

TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 8, 2010) – You might be surprised to learn that cholesterol, a wax-like substance produced in our bodies, has health benefits, but only if produced in moderation. Too much cholesterol, however, can clog arteries and put you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

The good news is that you have some control over cholesterol and can reduce your risks for heart disease by taking action to lower your cholesterol level. The American Heart Association recommends that you: schedule a screening, eat foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat and free of trans fat, maintain a healthy weight, and stay physically active.

· Take a few moments to learn what cholesterol is. Click here to read more about cholesterol.

· Find out your cholesterol level. A cholesterol screening test will give your results and will help you and your health provider chart a personalized plan of action to reduce your cholesterol.

· Make lifestyle changes that will reduce cholesterol. Your diet, activity level and smoking habits contribute to your cholesterol levels. Click here for good, heart-healthy recipes.

Your physician or health care professional is your best coach when it comes to creating your plan to reduce cholesterol. Please consult your health professional and follow his or her recommendations to improve your heart health.

This is the second of seven benefits tips on how to improve heart health, featuring the American Heart Association's Simple 7 plan. USF is participating in this year's American Heart Association Heart Walk on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. For more information on how you can join the Heart Walk, click here or email Carol Sands at