Miami-Dade American Heart Association invites the public to annual 5K Walk and Run

MIAMI (WSVN) - The Miami-Dade American Heart Association is gearing up for their annual 5K Heart Walk, and the public is invited to participate and walk with a purpose.

It’s time to kick start your heart! The Miami-Dade American Heart Association 5K Run and Walk is just around the corner and officials are stressing the importance of heart health.

“About one-third of our residents throughout the country suffer from some sort of heart disease,” said American Heart Association board member Frank Fernandez. “Officers have a high propensity of being prone of heart disease.”

While many in the general public are affected by heart disease, police officers are especially at risk, experts say, due to the high stress levels of their jobs.

Studies showed 1 in 10 officers who die in the line of duty do so from a heart attack.

“It’s terrifying to hear, honestly,” said Miami Police Academy recruit Gino Petruzzi. “That’s why we take it so seriously — the physical training. Not only for our job, but for the heart disease and all that.”

To help lower that staggering statistic, Miami Police recruits are already falling in line with staying active and healthy.

“We believe it’s very important to start off young police officers with the mindset of working out, exercising, dieting, sleeping, eating correctly and keeping heart disease in mind,” said Miami Police Deputy Chief Ronald Papier.

For this year’s Heart Walk, the goal is to raise $450,000, which will go towards critical research to battle the disease among first responders.

Officials said even the smallest donation can make a huge difference. The American Heart Association said heart disease is the world’s number one killer, and stroke ranks second.

“A simple 30 minute exercise everyday, education, proper eating could reduce that number,” said Fernandez.

The Walk and Run kicks off Sunday at Maurice Ferré Park at 1075 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami.

Heart Walk and Run begins at 9 a.m. The Kids Dash begins at 10:30 a.m.

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