Check It! Challenge could lead to lower risk of heart disease and stroke in Central New York and the Southern Tier

A new program is giving people in Central New York and the Southern Tier a chance to help control a silent killer.

The American Heart Association is now recruiting participants for the Check It! Challenge. The challenge is a community-wide program encouraging people to check, change, and control their blood pressure.

The Check It! Challenge is based on the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control. program, which is an evidence-based hypertension management program empowering participants to take ownership of their health using blood-pressure self-monitoring. The program incorporates the concepts of remote monitoring and online tracking as key features to hypertension management.

“More than 91,000 people in Onondaga County alone have high blood pressure. That’s nearly the record-setting average attendance at this year’s New York State Fair,” said Franklin Fry, executive director for the American Heart Association in Greater Syracuse. “In Broome County, it’s 45,000 people, or about twice the enrollment at Binghamton University. If we can move the needle on these numbers and help our community control blood pressure numbers, we can make a real difference.”

The program is open to individuals, employers or community organizations. The program runs from February (American Heart Month) through May (American Stroke Month). Each month features educational topics including how to manage blood pressure, healthy eating habits, physical activity and stress reduction, and knowing the signs of heart attack and stroke.

Participants are asked to take their blood pressure at least twice a month during the program. Blood pressure checks can be performed with at-home cuffs, at a public screening event, at a doctor’s office or at blood pressure kiosks. Kiosks can be found at most pharmacies and grocery stores.

An online tool to keep track of blood pressure numbers is available at Individuals in Central New York should use the campaign code CNYBP. Individuals in the Southern Tier should use UHSBP. Employers and organizations interesting in joining should contact Community Impact Director Lisa Neff at

In the Southern Tier, the Check It! Challenge is sponsored by UHS. In Central New York, thanks to a sponsorship from KeyBank, Syracuse Community Connections is hosting the American Heart Association’s Check It! Challenge program, along with ten months of heart health education and activities for residents of Syracuse’s south and west sides.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as a silent killer. It typically has no symptoms, but can lead to deadly health consequences such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. About half of all Americans have high blood pressure, but many are unaware.

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