Participants of this year’s American Heart Association’s West Alabama Heart Walk will cover 3.1 miles in support of defeating heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. They’ll also be faced with an added challenge—to eat their vegetables.

For the second year in a row, the Brussels Sprout Challenge will be part of the American Heart Association’s West Alabama Heart Walk, which will be held on Feb. 13, 2016 at 8 a.m. The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences is partnering with Manna Grocery and Deli to roast and serve brussels sprouts during this year’s walk. Last year, more than 800 brussels sprouts were distributed.

To complete the Brussels Sprout Challenge, participants must eat three brussels sprouts during the walk—one at each mile. Those who complete the challenge will be awarded a t-shirt.

The idea of the Brussels Sprout Challenge originated with Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, as a counter to the Tuscaloosa Krispy Kreme Challenge—a two-mile race modeled after a North Carolina event—that challenges participants to eat a dozen donuts at the midpoint of the race.

Streiffer wanted to offer a similar challenge that promoted healthy eating and lifestyle choices while complementing the American Heart Association’s goal of building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke.

“Lots of people who may have been introduced to the mighty cruciferous vegetable family are happy and healthier,” Streiffer says.

The College will also be distributing handouts about the health benefits of brussels sprouts, which include heart health, cancer protection and cholesterol lowering, among others, as well as brussels sprout recipes. The College will also provide free health screenings to participants and attendees before, during and after the walk

The College’s mission is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region, and one way it accomplishes that mission is through community outreach.

Copyright © - The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences