Jackie Rogers plans to dance her way to her 60th birthday. At Christiana Care’s Dance Your Heart Out event at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, she and more than 500 others demonstrated that line dancing, hip-hop and Zumba can be fun ways to get healthy.
The annual event is part dance party and part health fair. For Rogers, with a family history of high blood pressure and diabetes, Dance Your Heart Out was an early birthday celebration as she enters a new decade of her life.
“I am fully aware that diabetes and high blood pressure are connected to weight,” said Rogers, a Wilmington resident. “I am determined to do everything I can to stay healthy.”
At Dance Your Heart Out, Christiana Care combined screenings, education and entertainment. Adults, teens and children crowded the dance floor for dance instruction and energetic performances by the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Dance Delaware and the YMCA. With encouragement from emcee Ken Brown, dean of students and family services at Kuumba Academy Charter School in Wilmington, attendees danced the Dougie and learned to “Turn Down for What.”
Regina Brothers of Wilmington has danced with friends and neighbors at the event for the past four years.
“I like that I can get free screenings, and the dancing is fun. I always learn something new,” Brothers said. “This year, I learned that dark chocolate in small amounts can be good for us, but not milk chocolate.”
Jacqueline Carter of Wilmington takes medication to control her blood pressure and was happy to see that her numbers were good. Participants received 653 free screenings in all, including 243 screenings for blood pressure, 137 for bone density and 273 for body-fat analysis. The screenings were done by Christiana Care’s Weight Management Center, Imaging Services, the Center for Heart & Vascular Health and the Blood Pressure Ambassadors at Christiana Care.
Ann-Marie Baker, MSN, RN-BC, senior program manager, Patient Experience, gave Carter and other attendees a card to help them keep track of their readings.
“If you’re at a grocery store or a drug store where you can check your blood pressure, you should write it down on the card and take it with you to your next doctor’s appointment,” Baker advised.
Edward Goldenberg, M.D., Christiana Care’s medical director of Cardiovascular Prevention and honorary chair for the event, and Alisa Carrozza, employee wellness coordinator, did a Q&A with the audience to test their heart health knowledge and cheered on their efforts toward good health.
“You can make a difference in your own health and for generations to come,” said Dr. Goldenberg. “Your children will learn good health by watching mom and dad.”
Other community partners participating in the event included Dance Delaware, Million Hearts Delaware, DE Quitline, American Heart Association and WomenHeart of New Castle County.
Participating Christiana Care programs and departments included Christiana Care’s Comprehensive Stroke Program, Camp Fresh and Alliance for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Pulmonary Hypertension Program, Nutrition Services, Exercise Services and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Christiana Care Cardiology Consultants, Center for Comprehensive Venous Health, the Breast Center, Family & Community Medicine, OB-GYN, Internal Medicine, the Center for Heart & Vascular Health, Non-Invasive Lab, Employee Health, Nutrition and Exercise Services, Weight Management Center and External Affairs.