Cardiovascular disease in the U.S. kills approximately 1 in 3 women, claiming more lives each year than all types of cancer combined.

But Dr. Rachana Kulkarni, president of the American Heart Association of South and Central New Jersey, says it's possible to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle. About 80 percent of cardiac problems can be prevented.

She said the American Heart Association has teamed up with the American Stroke Association because stroke is the fifth killer of all Americans. Kulkarni said in 26 percent of New Jerseyans die of heart disease each year and five percent die of stroke.

Kulkarni said that 25 percent of New Jersey adults and 17 percent children are overweight. Part of this is because 22 percent of New Jerseyans have no physical activity and 16 percent smoke. She said these numbers are calls for action.

The first thing you should do when making a commitment to your health is "know your numbers." Kulkarni said that means know your blood pressure, blood sugars and body mass index. Talk to your doctor about your numbers and create a heart health plan that may include medication.

Kulkarni advises people to make physical activity a priority. Just add 30 minutes of movement to your day. Any form of physical activity works but just find something that works for you. If you like dancing, go for it. Swim, walk, bike or even do Zumba.

Another suggestion is to eat smart.

"I think a colorful dinner plate is a lot of better as we add color to your diet with more fruits and vegetables," she said.

For more information, you can go the American Heart Association of New Jersey's website.

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