OCEANSIDE — More than 600 runners and walkers showed up for the Cardiovascular Disease Foundation’s eighth annual 5K Walk for Life on The Strand on April 10.
Participants ran a looped course and were cheered on by more than 70 volunteers stationed along the route.
Police, firefighters and military troops were honored by a waived entry fee.
“We want to thank them for their civil service,” Judy Bennington, event volunteer, said. The run/walk is expected to raise $20,000 for the Cardiovascular Disease Foundation. “It’s our biggest annual fundraiser,” Malinda Engerer, executive director of the Cardiovascular Disease Foundation, said.
“Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer,” Engerer added. “A lot of people have been affected by cardiovascular disease personally or through their family.”
Engerer said one in three people suffer from cardiovascular disease.
“Our mission is to educate the public,” Engerer said.
Engerer recommends regular check-ups. “People need to know their numbers for cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body fat,” Engerer said.
A health fair at the 5K finish line provided free health screenings and tips on heart healthy habits. Interactive discovery stations helped kids see the ill effects of obesity by moving with weight belts strapped on and examining educational exhibits on body fat.
A primary focus of the Cardiovascular Disease Foundation’s outreach is educating families about childhood obesity. Engerer said one in three children in the U.S. are obese.
“The south is primarily the worst off because of fried foods in the schools,” Engerer said. “We’re really trying to combat that. It’s a whole lifestyle change.”
Locally the Cardiovascular Disease Foundation provides outreach to children and families at Camp Pendleton, the Boys & Girls Club and public libraries.