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Women in Agriculture 2011 Conference

Women in Agriculture 2011 Conference

by Clarissa Blackiston, Civil Engineering Technician


The 10th Annual Women in Ag Conference, sponsored annually by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, embraced “Go Red for Women,” a campaign designed to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women.  Each year, the two-day conference delivers a variety of workshops ranging from agri-business to carbon trading and more.  The second day featured a particularly appropriate breakout session on Strong Women Healthy Hearts.

Kathleen Splane, a Family and Consumer Science Educator for the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, started the class with an unusual surprise, brownies!  Then she began educating participants on the little things they could do to help fight against heart disease.  After Splane prepared a heart healthy recipe for participants and shared nutrition tips, she got everyone up and moving.  She joined the group in a brief exercise video as part of her Strong Women Healthy Hearts program. 

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in women. “High blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are two independent risk factors for heart disease,” said Splane.  “We've developed a new program called Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart that focuses on simple changes you can make to your diet that impacts these and other risk factors.”

According to Splane, often times women discount how much they could be doing to help the strongest muscle —the heart.  With only a few simple improvements, anyone can strengthen their heart a little every day with these tips:

 Touch and be touched.

Many scientific studies have shown that people who were touched lovingly every day had significantly fewer heart problems than the control group.

Stop smoking.

Nourish the body with a handful of sunflower seeds and a cup of nettle or oat straw infusion daily for four to six weeks before quitting.  Sunflower seeds reduce the body’s craving for nicotine by filling the nicotine receptor sites.  The infusions strengthen blood vessels and nerves and cushion the impact of withdrawal.


Go for a walk, jump rope, swim, or do leg lifts and arm raises from your bed or wheelchair.  However you can do it, do it!  Thirty minutes of physical activity a day, broken into three-10 minute sessions, has the same aerobic effect as 30 minutes of continuous activity.

Check out the links below for more of Kathleen Splane’s programs, Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart and Dining with Diabetes:

For the secret behind Splane’s heart healthy brownies–click here.

Photo caption: Cooperative Extension's Kathleen Splane, right, provides nutrition education programs in Kent County.


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