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Schools Report Students Favor Healthier Lunches

According to a recent study conducted by Bridging the Gap Research of school administrators at elementary, middle and high schools of students’ reactions to the healthier lunches, 70 percent of schools thought that students liked the new lunches.

By the spring of SY 2012‐13, school administrators in U.S. public elementary, middle and high schools reported that the majority of students liked the new meals, at least to some extent. Across all grade levels, most respondents reported that students complained initially in fall 2012 but that far fewer students were complaining by the time of the surveys in spring2013.  

Most American children consume more sugar, fat and sodium and fewer fruits, vegetables and whole grains than recommended. School meals, which feed more than 30 million children and adolescents each year, play a major role in shaping the diets and health of young people.

Learn more about these findings here: http://www.bridgingthegapresearch.org/_asset/h6lbl9/BTG_student_opinions_school_lunch_Jul_14.pdf

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Arkansas Leads the Way for Decreasing Uninsured Rate

A recent Gallup article indicated that Arkansas is leading the way for reducing the rate of the uninsured population.  Arkansas passed the “Private Option” allowing hundreds of thousands of Arkansas residents access to private health insurance.  Here is more from the Gallup story:
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Arkansas and Kentucky lead all other states in the sharpest reductions in their uninsured rate among adult residents since the healthcare law's requirement to have insurance took effect at the beginning of the year. Delaware, Washington, and Colorado round out the top five. All 10 states that report the largest declines in uninsured rates expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership.

Delaware, Washington, and Colorado round out the top five. All 10 states that report the largest declines in uninsured rates expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership.

As Gallup previously reported, the states that chose to expand Medicaid and set up their own health exchanges had a lower uninsured rate to begin with: 16.1% compared with 18.7% for the remaining states -- a difference of 2.6 percentage points. The already notable gap between the two groups of states widened through the first quarter to 4.3 points, as states that have implemented these core mechanisms of the Affordable Care Act reduced their uninsured rates three times more than states that did not implement these core mechanisms.

These data, collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, are based on respondents' self-reports of health insurance status based on the question, "Do you have health insurance coverage?"

Continue reading here:  http://www.gallup.com/poll/174290/arkansas-kentucky-report-sharpest-drops-uninsured-rate.aspx

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My Story

My name is Ryley Williams.  I am a high school student and stroke survivor.  This is my story. 

On July 8, 2013 my life was forever changed when I collapsed during warm up exercises at sophomore football practice. I was rushed to the ER, and they quickly told my parents that I needed a higher level of care, so I was taken in a helicopter to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock. In less than 4 hours of being admitted my parents were told that I had suffered multiple strokes in the left side of my brain. I could not speak or move the right side of my body. But they still did not know what caused the strokes. I was 15 years old, and in the best shape of my life. How could this happen to me?! 

Less than 48 hours later I was taken into emergency surgery to remove a portion of my skull to relieve the terrible swelling from the strokes. I am told this saved my life. Immediately following the crainectomy, a transesophageal echocardiogram was performed and it was then that the vegetation like strands that had built up from an unknown (and never identified) bacterial infection were found, and I was officially diagnosed with negative culture endocarditis.

I was immediately started on several different strong antibiotics to fight the infection, so the next 6 weeks I had to carry around an IV for these medications.  I am told that I completely broke all expectations and predictions from the stroke damage and was moved out of PICU directly into the rehabilitation unit at Arkansas Children's Hospital. 

I was still getting my food through a feeding tube in my nose, and couldn’t sit up or move on my own. There was speculation that I might only get part of my right side working again. 

But gradually and in leaps, I started fighting to get my life back, beginning with talking, swallowing, moving my arm and leg, and eventually sitting up and standing. After almost 3 weeks in rehab, I took my first steps with the help of a walking machine, and several physical therapists. The next move was a transfer to a residential rehabilitation hospital closer to home, and I immediately started physical, occupational and speech therapy on a daily routine. After another 3 weeks, I was able to come home.

Altogether the total amount of time spent in the hospitals was 7.5 weeks. It was during this time that my neurosurgeon broke it to me that I would never play football again, or any other contact sport. This was devastating to me. In November of 2013, I went back to ACH for my final surgery that replaced the missing piece of skull with a prosthetic piece.

Once again I fought against the odds, and went home after only 2 days, and never lost any of my progress. In January, I went back to school with a shortened schedule, and daily PT/OT/Speech therapies, as well as trying out my new role as a student athletic trainer.

It has been a year since my stroke, and it’s been a very tough journey, not just physically, but mentally hard to accept my new limitations and lifestyle. I want to tell other stroke survivors to not give up, even a tiny progress is progress, and it’s further than you were a week ago.

A lot of people think I have it easy, but it’s really hard to see all my friends moving on in their lives, and I am just fighting to run again, or ride a bike, or play video games. It will all happen again…..just not as quickly as I wish, and that is okay. I have also had my 16th birthday since the strokes, but I will not be able to drive for another year or so, because I have had seizures that are “normal”, but should be controlled by medications I take daily. No matter what, I am alive and I am thankful that I am still on the earth to help others that have been through what I have been through.

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Arkansas Advocates Meet with U.S. Senate Office

On Wednesday July 2nd AHA Advocates Brett Stone and Carole Garner met with Senator Mark Pryor’s staff to discuss the Child Nutrition Act.  The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act is currently making its way through Congress and would help keep strong nutrition standards for school meals.

Senator Pryor sits on the important Senate Appropriation committee that has influence over this bill.  In May his committee approved the Child Nutrition Act that included stronger standards than the House of Representatives version. 

We thanked Senator Pryor for keeping the Child Nutrition Act strong, and encouraged him to not accept any weakening amendments as the bill moves towards final passage. 

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Vickie Wingfield, Ultimate Advocacy Volunteer

Vickie Wingfield is one of the American Heart Association’s ultimate volunteers and has been involved with AHA for over 18 years.  She is currently the Chair of the Arkansas State Advocacy Committee and continues to bring cheer, passion, and enthusiasm to everything she does. 

While currently lending her leadership to You’re the Cure Advocacy efforts, Vickie has remained committed to many of our fundraising events including the Heart Ball, Central Arkansas Heart Walk, the Festival of Wines and the Go Red For Women Luncheon. 

Vickie works for the Arkansas Heart Hospital as the Director of Community Relations.  She is also a heart disease survivor and works tirelessly to educate Arkansans about their risk factors and to take charge of their heart health.  Vickie is the mother of two sons and has a grandson Brooks and granddaughter Riley. 

Prior to chairing the State Advocacy Committee Vickie served as the Grassroots Action Team leader. 

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Teaching Gardens = Learning Laboratories for Kids

Studies show that when kids grow their own fruits and vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them. That’s the idea behind the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens.  While 1/3 of American children are classified as overweight or obese, AHA Teaching Gardens is fighting this unhealthy trend by giving children access to healthy fruits and vegetables and instilling a life time appreciation for healthy foods.

Aimed at first through fifth graders, we teach children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits. Garden-themed lessons teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands.

Over 270 gardens are currently in use nationwide reaching and teaching thousands of students, with more gardens being added every day.  You can find an American Heart Association Teaching Garden in your area here or email teachinggardens@heart.org to find how you can get involved.

               

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Arkansas Advocate Stars in PSA for CPR in Schools

Arkansas volunteer and Miss Teen International, Haley Pontius, is on a mission to educate more people – especially her peers – about how CPR can save a life.  That is why she supports CPR in Schools legislation and recently starred in a Public Service Announcement. 

You can view the PSA video by clicking here.

In addition to her CPR advocacy Haley has volunteered for the American Heart Association since 2007 in a number of roles.  Haley was a summer intern at the Central Arkansas office in 2012 and has volunteered at several events, like the Heart Ball and Go Red For Women Luncheon.

Thanks to advocates like Haley 1 million students across the nation each school year will be trained in CPR, including students in states like Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas where advocates helped to pass CPR in Schools initiatives. 


 

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Speaker Davy Carter Highlighted You're the Cure Celebration

On Thursday, May 22, Arkansas You’re the Cure advocates and Central Arkansas volunteers met for an Advocacy Afterhours post session reception. State Advocacy Chair Vickie Wingfield led the meeting and introduced the special guest for the evening, House Speaker Davy Carter. 

Speaker Carter spoke about the importance of volunteer involvement in the legislative process and gave an inside look into the Private Option funding that was passed during the 2014 Fiscal Session. 

As a champion of the Private Option, he spoke to both the economic and public health benefits it will provide in Arkansas.  Thanks to the efforts of YTC advocates and legislative champions 100,000 Arkansas residents will keep their private insurance and many more will have access in the future. 

Grassroots Action Team Chair Kathy Haynie then presented Speaker Carter with over 300 thank you letters signed by American Heart Association advocates and supporters in recent months. 

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One Million Milestone

Did you hear the big news?  We’ve reached an amazing milestone in our campaign to teach all students to be ‘CPR Smart’!  17 states now require CPR training as a graduation requirement, which adds up to over one million annual graduates who are prepared to save a life.  Congratulations to all of the You’re the Cure advocates and community partners who have spoken-up for training our next generation of life-savers.   

But with every advocacy celebration comes a new call to action.  33 states still need to pass legislation to make CPR a graduation requirement and you can help us get there!  Here are a couple simple things you can do right now to get the word out:

1) Watch Miss Teen International Haley Pontius share how a bad day can be turned into a day to remember when students know CPR.  And don’t forget to share this PSA on social media with the hashtag #CPRinSchools!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

2) Do you live in one of the 33 states that have not made CPR a graduation requirement yet?  Take our Be CPR Smart pledge to show your support and join the movement.  We’ll keep you updated on the progress being made in your state. 


 

 

We hope you’ll help keep the momentum going as we support many states working to pass this legislation into 2015.  Several states have already had success in securing funding for CPR training in schools, but now need to push for the legislature to pass the graduation requirement and in Illinois, the Governor recently signed legislation that requires schools to offer CPR & AED training to students. 

Bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates when given right away and with 424,000 people suffering out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, this law is critical to helping save lives.  Thank you for being part of our movement to train the next generation of life-savers!


PS- Inspired to be CPR smart too?  Take 60 seconds to learn how to save a life with Hands-Only CPR.

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AHA Volunteer Tirelessly Pursues Improving Care

Dr. Robert Wozniak has tirelessly worked to improve care for cardiac patients since earning his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine.  Now residing in Austin, Texas he helps advance our mission across the country by sitting on AHA’s National Mission Lifeline Advisory Working Group.  Through advocating for change within our Mission Lifeline program and with elected officials he is a true leader in our efforts to improve cardiac care.

While twice receiving volunteer leadership awards from the American Heart Association Dr. Wozniak recently received the prestigious 2014 Frist Humanitarian Physician of the Year Award for HCA St. David’s North Austin Medical Center. The Frist Humanitarian Awards recognize employees, physicians and volunteers at HCA-affiliated facilities across the country who demonstrate extraordinary concern for the welfare and happiness of patients and their communities.

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