American Heart Association Teams With Olympic Gold Medalist Jennie Finch to Launch “Billion Calorie Count-UP”

Drive to collect 1 billion calories by the year 2020 kicks off on National Walking Day

April 04, 2012 Categories: Program News
ew York, NY – April 4, 2012 – Today, in celebration of National Walking Day, the American Heart Association teamed up with Olympic Gold Medalist Jennie Finch to announce the launch of the “Billion Calorie Count-UP,” a new multi-year, nationwide goal aimed at encouraging Americans to collectively burn one billion calories by the year 2020. 
For every hour of very brisk walking, life expectancy may increase for some adults by two hours, and this year the American heart Association is making it easier than ever to get started, get healthy and get walking. To take part in the “Billion Calorie Count-UP,” interested walkers should visit to find a Heart Walk in their area.
Starting today, the American Heart Association will count the calories burned by individual walkers at Heart Walks across the country and add them to the “Billion Calorie Count-UP” total. In addition to National Walking Day, other key milestone dates, such as National Eating Healthy Day on November 7, will be used to report out on our calorie counting status.   
Helping to lead the charge is Olympic Gold Medalist Jennie Finch who understands the important role that regular physical activity plays in a healthy lifestyle.
“When I was playing softball, I used to spend countless hours training to keep my body in top shape. That was my day job. Luckily, for most Americans, staying in shape is a lot simpler, and this year, it can start with a brisk daily walk,” said Jennie Finch, American Heart Association spokesperson and Olympic Gold Medalist.  “I’m thrilled to be working with the American Heart Association to launch the ‘Billion Calorie Count-UP’ and supporting their commitment to improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by at least 20 percent by the year 2020.”
“Statistics show that 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women are at risk for heart disease, and research shows that poor lifestyle is a major contributor,” noted Donna Arnett, Ph.D., American Heart Association President Elect, Professor and Chair of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “From walking clubs and paths to cooking tips and easy-made recipes, the American Heart Association’s My Heart.My Life. healthy-living initiative is working to help individuals and families understand how to get active and eat healthy – all part of the American Heart Association’s 2020 goal. Don’t stop with signing up for Heart Walk; use the American Heart Association Walking Clubs and Walking Paths to keep you walking every day.”
To learn more about the “Billion Calorie Count-UP,” visit  Here, Americans can also access healthy living resources including information about getting active and eating healthy.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country.


Kristi Manning

Kevin Tressler, Hunter Public Relations