Starting today, city employees in Pittsburgh, PA will be invited to join the “Heart of a Hero Campaign”—a month-long initiative that focuses on obtaining optimal heart health through plant-based nutrition. The initiative is a collaborative effort by The City of Pittsburgh, American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), insurance company Highmark, The City of Pittsburgh’s CityFit Wellness & Benefits Team, nonprofit Humane Action Pittsburgh, and plant-based nutrition company Engine 2—the latter founded by former firefighter and vegan triathlete Rip Esselstyn. “Heart attacks are the number one cause of in-the-line-of-duty deaths for firefighters and it ranks fifth for police officers,” Esselstyn said. “If our men and women on the front lines are at the highest risk for coronary disease, we want to equip them with the tools—and the delicious foods—needed to reduce their risk and help them be not only fit for duty, but fit for life.” Following an informational talk and cooking demonstration by Esselstyn, firefighters, police officers, and emergency responders, along with other city employees and their families, will be invited to take the “Seven-Day Rescue Challenge” and eat a heart-healthy, plant-based diet for one week, with a full menu of resources, recipes, and online coaching. Following the challenge, the Engine 2 team will support participants for 10 weeks, tracking improvements in weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar, followed by three-month biometric screenings to measure long-term success of eschewing animal products. On September 16, participants will also be invited to the world premiere of The Game Changers—a documentary that features elite plant-based athletes that’s executively produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan. “This Heart of a Hero challenge is directly in line with the city’s goal to improve environmental health through improved use of our resources and a reduced carbon footprint as outlined in (city plan) OnePGH,” City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said. “We applaud our city’s employees for taking steps to improve their health while reducing their consumption of animal products.”
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