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In association with the American Heart Association, Idaho-AHPERD has been working diligently for the past two years to strengthen Physical Education (PE) requirements in the state of Idaho. Meetings were conducted to poll the top priorities for PE requirements and included physical education teachers from all around the state, key stake holders, and a health lobbyist.

The proposed requirements started off with many elements, but were modified several times. In the end, specific amounts of time for PE classes were suggested as a state requirement in elementary, junior high/middle school, and high school. Along with the PE requirement, it was proposed to teach CPR in junior high/middle school, and again in high school.

In February, the Idaho Senate Education Committee, after postponing the vote four different times, rejected the PE minutes requirement for all schools. They passed the CPR requirement, but not the PE minutes/week. Unfortunately, this means the PE requirement is done for this legislative session. Idaho-AHPERD plans to regroup and try again. There are movements all around our nation to make PE a core class. Idaho has a dream to see this movement come into fruition. We will be heard from again!

Erica Ralston, Business Development Director, California

My Grandfather passed away at the age of 40 after three heart attacks. My mom was 11 and I was not in the picture. But his absence in my life has already been felt. I know it is genetic for my family. I do my best every day to make the choices that will keep me around for my grandkids. And I make it my mission to tell others that this disease does not discriminate. It affects individuals of all ages and genders. Take your health into your hands today. It is all you have.

If we all work together to advocate for healthier options in vending machines, improved nutrition & physical education in schools and access to bike paths and walking paths, we would be on a great path to a heart healthy community.

Don’t know how to get started with a heart healthy lifestyle change? A great way to start is with others just like you. The American Heart Association’s Start Training program is a half marathon training program designed to help non-active and low activity individuals to train and complete a half marathon. Hundreds have completed the program successfully and keep coming back every year. Through Start Training, you get the professional support needed to train and make walking (or running) become a part of your lifestyle. Click here to learn more about the program and find a program in your area.

I hope you will join me on a walking path this winter as I walk toward a healthier future for my family… and yours.

Congratulations to advocacy volunteer Hilary Schae Lavorgna for “walking the walk” in the efforts to fight obesity! A student in Exercise Science at the University of Vermont, Hilary helped the American Heart Association lead an obesity workshop at a youth conference in Burlington this past month. We discussed the need to address childhood obesity via legislative efforts like our community use of school buildings and grounds bill. And Hilary showed middle school students how they could easily fit fitness into their day in ten minute blocks and ask for changes to make them healthier.

Gladdys Arboleda, Hawaii

Aloha,

My name is Gladdys Arboleda and I’m a  high school senior participating in my school’s Health Academy. I plan to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner. For my senior project I’m working as an advocate with the American Heart Association to help educate my peers and other members of the public about the role that overconsumption of sugar plays in the development of obesity and cardiovascular and chronic diseases.

My first experience as an AHA advocate was working at the Keiki Tent at the American Heart Walk held in Kapiolani Park in August. I got to talk with lots of keiki and their parents and raise their awareness about how much sugar and hidden calories are in the various drinks that they may consume. I’m even sharing these messages at home with my family. I’ve learned that almost half of all the sugar that we consume on average comes from beverages. In most cases, the calories from those beverages come with no nutritional value.

I hope to help the AHA convince our state’s policymakers to add a one-cent per ounce fee on beverages that have added sweetener containing calories, and to use the money raised by those fees to fund obesity prevention programs in our communities. Obesity is one of the greatest health challenges we face today, and I hope that my work with the AHA will help begin to reduce it in our children and in our adults.

Mahalo for supporting our efforts to improve health in our communities by being a You’re The Cure advocate.

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