Remember the old Smokey Bear ads about preventing forest fires? The Smokey campaign was created in 1944 because forest fires were considered one of the most critical issues affecting the country.
The original Smokey slogan said, “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires.” After a couple of years, it was changed to the one we grew up with, “Remember … only YOU can prevent forest fires.”
So why are talking about Smokey Bear? Because we think it’s time for Smokey to take on a new cause: strokes. Like forest fires, cardiovascular disease and strokes are among the most critical issues affecting the country, and in an amazing coincidence, a new study reveals that 9 out of 10 strokes are preventable.
Here’s a little bit of information that may help scare you straight: Nearly 800,000 people have a stroke every year putting it at the number 5 cause of death in the United States. What most of us don’t know is that it is also the leading cause of long-term disability.
According to the National Stroke Association:
- Only 10% of stroke survivors recover almost completely
- 25% recover with minor impairments
- 40% experience moderate to severe impairments that require special care
- 10% require care in a nursing home or other long-term facility
- 15% die shortly after the stroke
- Approximately 14% of stroke survivors experience a second stroke in the first year following a stroke.
These are devastating statistics. Having a stroke can change your life forever.
But–and here’s where our friend Smokey comes in–almost all strokes are preventable through some simple behavior changes.
A new study involving 27,000 people from every continent in the world, found that 90% of all strokes could be eliminated if lifestyle-related risk factors could be controlled.
The greatest contributor to stroke appears to be high blood pressure. After that come inactivity, high cholesterol, poor diet, and obesity. Interestingly, diabetes, alcohol intake, and stress appear to be relatively minor contributors, and tobacco use is intermediate.
When we think about lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure, losing weight and eating better, we typically think about that as affecting heart health. It turns out, it’s also critical for brain health.
This is why what you eat is SO vital.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet and obesity are all food related. These are the factors that are the most highly correlated with the development of a stroke.
Step One Foods was developed to help you improve your heart health by making it simple to get the nutrients that are critical. We hear from customers every week who have experienced lower cholesterol, lower dependence on blood pressure lowering medications, and weight loss. And now it turns out, Step One Foods can help prevent strokes, too.
Smokey is teaching a whole new generation of kids how to prevent forest fires. Maybe we need a mascot who teaches them how to prevent strokes, too.