In particular, I’m glad that our good friend [NAME OF ELECTED OFFICIAL] is here, along with [ANY OTHER INDIVIDUALS THAT SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED].
The U.S. Postal Service has a long tradition of issuing special stamps to help raise public awareness about important health and social issues.
These special stamps have run the gamut … from AIDS Awareness … to Organ and Tissue Donation … to Prostate Cancer Awareness … to Hospice Care … to Diabetes… to Alzheimer’s.
Today, I am proud to join all of you as we continue this tradition by dedicating the Heart Health commemorative Forever stamp.
We are raising awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy heart because coronary heart disease is the number 1 cause of death among men and women in the United States.
And yet it does not have to be. Many cases of heart disease can be prevented by making a few lifestyle changes.
With this stamp, we remember loved ones who have been lost to heart disease, and we issue a call to action for all of us, to focus on the importance of maintaining a healthy heart.
This special new stamp conveys the feeling of vitality that comes from physical exercise — a key element in controlling and preventing coronary heart disease. The design also includes a bright yellow sun disk, a leafy green tree icon, and the blue swirl of a sky.
At the center of the stamp, a striding figure has a full red heart. At the figure’s feet, a large red apple represents a well-balanced diet — another essential factor in maintaining a healthy heart.
This stamp not only helps raise awareness about heart health, it offers practical, daily tips that anyone can follow to lower the risk of heart disease.
There are six tips printed right on the back of the stamp sheet to help remind us all that simple changes can make a big difference. These are common-sense ideas that most of us have heard before, yet they can help protect your heart for a lifetime.
First, eat healthy foods. Adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet can help control blood cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure, and protect against other heart disease risks.
Second: Exercise and control your weight. Regular physical activity is important, but you don't have to be an athlete to see results. Even exercising moderately on most days of the week will help.
Third: Don’t smoke. Smoking causes a person’s arteries to narrow and blood pressure to rise. No matter how long a person has smoked, quitting will dramatically lower the risk of developing heart disease.
Next on the list is one we all may have trouble with in these busy days: manage stress. It’s been proven that prolonged stress can harm your heart. In addition to regular exercise and some of the other tips we’ve mentioned, maintaining supportive relationships with family and friends also can be a big boost to our overall health. And, don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed.
Our fifth tip is to sleep well. It’s essential to your heart to rest and recover every day. Here’s another fact that’s been proven in studies — adults who get less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night have a higher risk of developing heart disease.
And finally, get regular health screenings. Many risk factors of heart disease can creep up on you without symptoms. Simple tests are available today, and preventive measures can be taken with early diagnosis.
How many here are fans of the Biggest Loser TV show on NBC?
That’s great, because we are working together to promote a healthy lifestyle and letter writing.
As part of The Biggest Loser February 14 show, the stamp [WILL BE/WAS] the centerpiece of the national “Watch It. Write It. Win It” sweepstakes. For an 11-week period, viewers are invited to “watch, write and win” by sending letters of encouragement to their favorite Biggest Loser contestants. Viewers can send as many letters as they wish, addressed to one contestant at a time, or to previously eliminated contestants from this season.
Letters will be drawn at random to win one of three great prizes, ranging from a 1-week, all-expense-paid trip to the Biggest Loser Resort, to a supply of Biggest Loser prepared meals — delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, to tickets and airfare to see the Biggest Loser Grand Finale show in May 2013.
You can find out all the details of the sweepstakes (Add if event is before Feb. 14: starting February 14 after the Biggest Loser show that day) at Post Offices nationwide and online at “usps-dot-com-slash-biggest loser”.
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We are printing 50 million of these stamp...and we hope every single one will be collected or used to spread the word about the importance of heart health. Indeed, we want our customers to save lives by putting these stamps on their cards and letters! It’s our gift to America.
Let’s fight heart disease with all the strength we can muster.
Let’s expose this silent killer to the healing light of understanding and awareness.
And let’s educate the nation about the life-saving benefits of eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising and controlling weight, not smoking, managing stress, sleeping well, and getting regular health screenings.
It’s clear from this stamp, and the other social awareness stamps I’ve mentioned, that the Postal Service provides more than low-cost, high quality, mail service to everyone, everywhere, every day.
We deliver more than the mail.
Our real power lies in our ability to reach so many people — and to reach out to them.
That’s why we’re extremely proud of the Heart Health commemorative Forever stamp — because we know it can make a positive difference in the lives of so many people — men and women, young and old.
Stamps, as well as the subjects and issues they highlight, are one of the many ways we help bind our nation together and enrich the communities that we serve.
And remember — if you purchase the Heart Health commemorative Forever stamp today, or at some time in the future, it will be good as First-Class Mail postage forever, no matter what the rate is when you put it on the envelope.
So now, on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service, it gives me great pleasure to transform an ordinary fixture of American life — a U.S. postage stamp — into a symbol of health, wellness, and vitality.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our Heart Health commemorative Forever stamp.