Updated:Apr 30,2014

Our children’s lives are in your hands. Nearly four times as many children die from congenital heart defects than from all forms of childhood cancers, and childhood obesity continues to rise. If this trend continues, this generation will live sicker and die younger than their parents.

Congenital heart disease is the No. 1 killer of children with birth defects and overweight children and teens have been found to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease including high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and type 2, adult onset diabetes.

Due to the rise in childhood obesity, children are experiencing these “adult” health problems. Excessive weight and obesity are major risk factors for heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death nationwide, claiming nearly one million lives per year.

The Ignite platform is committed to igniting the hearts of our community, while providing hope for a healthier younger generation. Ignite provides a year-long focus that showcases the work and the mission related activities of the American Heart Association in the central Ohio community including the advancements made through research, patient care and educational programs that improve the health and lives of children and people of all ages. The Healthy Family Fitness Camp, Heart Ball and Researcher Reception are the association’s three key approaches to reaching the goal of ensuring that today’s generation of youth grows to be one of the healthiest

The Ignite Healthy Family Fitness Camp is a partnership with local sports teams and other community leaders that provides a fun way to educate and motivate families in underserved areas of central Ohio to become healthier. Families participate in activities that help them gain a greater understanding of the correlation between improved heart-health and physical activity and proper diet.

The Ignite Heart Ball is an evening of celebration as we try to reach our goal of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke; supporting the educational programs and critical research to make our children’s healthy future a reality. We celebrate the work of the mission, our donors and volunteers, and most importantly the lives that have been saved and improved because of everyone’s collective work.

The Research Reception honors and pays tribute to the outstanding cardiovascular research taking place in central Ohio. The event highlights current American Heart Association funded projects and the researchers leading the way in new advances in cardiovascular science. The reception recognizes five researchers who received the American Heart Association’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award.

For more information, please contact Jessica Rice at jessica.rice@heart.org or (614) 396-4421.