2YH: Volunteers warm newborns' heads, hearts for Heart Month

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - For Gertrude Andrew, this Tuesday, Feb. 6, marks the day her fourth child, Joseph, arrived at 4:23 a.m.

"I get to enjoy this little love all over again and be needed and wanted and it's, it's really nice knowing you're needed somewhere and there's somebody depending on you so I'm very excited on the journey we both have," Andrew said.

Since Andrew's 7-lb, 14-oz bundle of joy made his appearance in the month of February, he was given a knitted red hat as part of the American Heart Association's Little Hats Big Hearts Program.

The national program is making its first run in Alaska with nearly 25 knitters volunteering to create 400 hats for babies born at Providence.

Andrew said her secret to raising her babies healthy starts with her own diet.

"Just being mindful of what you eat, eating all the right foods, a lot of fish, a lot of fruit, just basically just taking care of yourself and watching what I eat," Andrew said.

Dr. Scott Wellman, a pediatric cardiologist who is also on the state board for the American Heart Association, said healthy heart habits should start in early childhood.

"In childhood, it's mainly encouraging activity and providing a healthy diet are the biggest things, minimizing exposure to cigarette smoke, they're all big healthy tips," Wellman said.

Wellman also recommends, particularly for those in rural communities to stick to traditional foods like berries and salmon.

"The foods that are available to you are generally the things that are best for your health, so the traditional diets are most healthy for people who live in rural areas and for all Alaskans," Wellman said.

When it comes to physical activity, Wellman suggests 60 minutes daily for kids and 30 minutes daily for adults.

"Getting outside, just walking around is great exercise and if you don't like the cold, if it's rainy, you go inside find a shopping mall or one of the larger indoor tracks if they're available and there's plenty of places to get outside and just walk," Wellman said.

The American Heart Association is also gearing up for Congenital Heart Disease awareness week from February 7th-14th.

The plan is to grow the Little Hats Big Hearts Program to expand to other hospitals next year.

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