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Stepping to a heart healthy beat

The Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. launched a month of events to promote a heart healthy lifestyle.Psi Omega Chapter

Moving to the beat of hip-hop, salsa, and other dance music, nearly 100 women kicked off American Heart Month with “The Boss Chick Workout,” at the Cabral Center at Northeastern University.

The high-intensity cardio routine was organized by Psi Omega, the Boston chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the nation’s oldest sorority for African-American women, as part of a campaign called “Pink Goes Red for Heart Health.”

For February, the sorority has shed its traditional pink color in favor of red, to encourage African-American women to live heart healthy lives. African-American women are at a high risk for heart disease, due to factors such as high-blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.

And nearly half of African-American women in the country have some type of cardiovascular disease, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention .

“It’s really important to know that there’s a lot of disparity with African-American women and heart disease,” said Kathy Lucas, president of the 93-year-old Psi Omega Chapter.


The local chapter vows to do its part to fight heart disease.

The“Boss Chick Workout” session on Feb. 1, led by Portia Singh, a local trainer and sorority member, drew women of all ages. At its peak, about 71 women worked out to all types of music, such as R & B and afrobeats fusion, according to the sorority.

“She gave an amazing class,” Lucas said.

The sorority is encouraging members to make lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease.

All month long, they’ll be encouraged to plan healthy lunches and take part in a 10,000-steps per day fitness challenge. They will be tracking their progress on social media under the hashtags #AKABoston, #PsiOmega, and #PinkGoesRed.

Other events will target emotional and cognitive well-being.

On Feb. 16, the chapter will invite young women to attend a performance of “Ragtime” at Wheelock College to encourage their interest in the arts.

Psi Omega will also conduct a financial program in April. And a mental health awareness project with young girls in May, according to the chapter.

“We’re trying to carry that healthy lifestyle throughout the year,” Lucas said.


Kathy McCabe of the Globe Staff contributed to this story. Andrew Stanton can be reached at andrew.stanton@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @_andrewstanton.