February 29, 2016It was a frigid morning at this year’s American Heart Association West Alabama Heart Walk, but that didn’t keep Tuscaloosa residents from showing their support for heart health or from sampling some Brussels sprouts. For the second year in a row, the Brussels Sprout Challenge was part of the Heart Walk, held on Feb. 13, 2016, at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. The College of Community Health Sciences partnered with Manna Grocery and Deli to roast and serve more than 900 Brussels sprouts at the walk. Participants completing the challenge had to eat three Brussels sprouts during the walk—one at each mile. Those who completed the challenge were awarded a t-shirt. Brussels sprout recipes and health facts were available to all participants. The idea of the Brussels Sprout Challenged 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. Before, during and after the walk, the College distributed Brussels sprout recipes as well as handouts about the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, which include heart health, cancer protection and cholesterol lowering. Free health screenings for all participants and attendees were also provided. 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.