DERRY — Vickie Felix needed help.

She knew she had some health issues and wanted to turn her life around.

Felix is now one of a dozen New Hampshire women participating in the American Heart Association’s 12-week BetterU heart healthy makeover challenge.

The program kicked off recently at the Executive Health and Sport Center in Manchester. It’s sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

“New Hampshire cannot afford to lose any more women to heart disease and stroke,” Harvard Pilgrim’s Beth Roberts said. “More than 50 percent of New Hamphire women are obese or overweight, the leading causes of chronic disease. We all need to understand what each of us can do to improve our health, and BetterU provides us role models from our communities who can show us how.”

For Felix, 30, it was time to make some changes.

Not only was her blood pressure rising, but she also struggled with Type 2 diabetes and a thyroid condition.

The mother of three daughters applied to be part of BetterU to learn about healthy changes she could make in her life to keep her heart healthy.

“I need that push and this challenge will do that for me,” Felix said.

BetterU will take Felix on the journey over the course of 12 weeks, helping her along the way with wellness assessments, goal-setting and coaching tools that will teach healthy skills and lifestyle changes.

Participants will focus on improving eating and exercise habits, gaining confidence and learning how to be a strong presence in the lives of their children and other family members.

Anyone can learn more about the free BetterU program by visiting the American Heart Assocation at GoRedFor or by calling 1-888-MY-HEART.

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