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New Birth South to host Healthy Heart Conference

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

On Saturday, the Wellness Ministry of New Birth South Metropolitan Church and the National Black Men's Health Network (NBMHN) will team up to educate people in the Southern Crescent about the dangers of heart disease.

On April 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Healthy Heart Conference will take place at the New Birth South Clayton Campus, located at 2450 Mt. Zion Parkway.

Earlier this year, New Birth South received a $2,100 grant from the Morehouse School of Medicine to host two different health awareness events in the metro Atlanta area.

On April 4, the church hosted a Tobacco-Free Teen Summit at Carver High School in southeast Fulton County.

The church will use the remainder of the funds to host the Healthy Heart Conference, which will be free to the public. Carolyn McKenzie, the event's promoter, said the church is hoping to make minorities -- who are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular diseases -- more aware of healthy living options.

"We're trying to bring awareness to heart disease in minority communities," said McKenzie. "A lot of minorities are not paying attention to the symptoms, they are not taking the proper precautions, they are not eating right ..."

In addition to blood pressure screenings, the church will host three different workshops to address prevention, physical activity, and healthy eating. The titles of the workshops are "How to Prevent and Treat Heart Disease," "The Role that Physical Activity Plays in Maintaining a Healthy Heart," and "Nutrition and Healthy Hearts."

Dr. Jean Bonhomme, who founded the NBMHN in 1987 to address a number of health concerns facing black men, said the statistics warranted having the conference.

"In the United States, African-Americans of both genders suffer the highest death rates from diseases of the heart and circulatory system," said Bonhomme. He said black men have a heart disease death rate which is 29 percent higher than their white counterparts, and 40 percent of black males with heart disease die before the age of 65, compared to only 21 percent of white males.

"Vigorous prevention, education, and intervention is needed for the African- American community to reduce the toll taken by heart disease," said Bonhomme.

Space is limited to 150 and all attendees must be pre-registered.

Contact Carolyn McKenzie at (770) 873-4496 for more information.