Live Well Sioux Falls and The Big Squeeze community team announced the results from The Big Squeeze 2013 at a press conference Thursday. This community-wide blood pressure initiative has been very successful over the last three years; in fact, participation rates have tripled from 2011 to 2013.

Less than half of the adults who were screened in The Big Squeeze 2013 had normal blood pressure readings. Forty-one percent were found to have “at risk” blood pressure and another 18 percent had readings in the “high” or “critically high” categories. Of those found to be “high” or “critically high,” 37 percent had never been told by a health care professional that they have high blood pressure.

“The Big Squeeze directly correlates with the Live Well Sioux Falls initiative,” says Jill Franken, City of Sioux Falls Public Health Director. “Through Live Well and our community partners, we are educating the residents of Sioux Falls on how to live a healthier lifestyle through improved nutrition, increased physical activity, reduced tobacco use, and by managing risk factors for disease.”

According to the American Heart Association, 69 percent of people who have their first heart attack, 77 percent of people who have their first stroke, and 74 percent of people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure. Preventive services, such as routine disease screenings, are at the forefront to reducing death and disability and improving the nation’s health. These services both prevent and detect illnesses and diseases at more treatable stages.

A group of public and private partners from the Sioux Falls community have driven this successful effort, including the American Heart Association, Avera Health, City of Sioux Falls, DAKOTACARE, Lewis Drug, Novartis, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, and Walgreens.

For more information on how to become involved in The Big Squeeze 2014, please contact Jen Johnson at jjjohnson@siouxfalls.org or call 367-8031.