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American Heart Association taps Minneapolis company for major campaign

Medicom Digital, a software firm which specializes in online-based health marketing and education, designed an interactive Web tool at the heart of a new AHA campaign to cut deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent in 10 years.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Medicom Digital is a relatively unknown company that just scored a very well known client: the American Heart Association (AHA).

The Minneapolis-based software firm, which specializes in online-based health marketing and education, designed an interactive Web tool at the heart of a new AHA campaign to cut deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent in 10 years.

The program, called My Life Check, questions users on the seven criteria/factors recently developed by the AHA to define poor, average and excellent cardiovascular health, including blood pressure, cholesterol, exercise and dieting habits. Based on the answers, My Life Check calculates a “heart score” that rates the person’s cardiovascular health on a scale from one to 10, 10 being the best. The program also suggests specific lifestyle changes users can adopt to improve their score.

In the first eight hours after the launch, over 5,000 people have visited the Web site and more than 75 percent have completed the assessment, Medicom Digital said.

Last week, the AHA unveiled a major campaign to combat heart disease in the United States. Called the 2020 Impact Goal, the group hopes to improve cardiovascular health and reduce fatalities, each by 20 percent by 2020. The initiative marks the first time the group has embraced disease prevention as a principle strategy versus diagnosis and treatment. It’s also the first time the AHA identified what it considers “ideal cardiovascular heath.”

“To date, there has been great success in reducing disability and death from heart disease and stroke in part through aggressive improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases and in limited uptake of measures to prevent heart disease and stroke,”AHA President Dr. Clyde W. Yancy said in a statement.

“However, too many people continue to have unrelenting exposure to known important risk factors for heart disease and stroke to the point that we are likely to begin seeing an increase in these diseases — and at an earlier age,” he said. “That is a cause for alarm and a trend we need to stop now.”