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Summer is Sweet Enough Without Sugary Drinks

Sugar sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugars in Americans’ diets. Consumption of these drinks has increased 500% in the last fifty years!

It’s no wonder we’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic that’s responsible for 21% of all health care costs.

Join our fight to reduce consumption of sugary drinks.  Summer is a great time to start. Begin at home, then make a pledge to help spread the word. Choose one of the options below or come up with your own idea. But take action!

  • Ask a local business to offer more healthy drink options.
  • Ask my kids’ summer camp to encourage parents to only pack water and discourage fruit drinks and sports drinks.
  • Ask community leaders to improve water quality in parks and schools.
  • Ask my dentist to talk to all his/her patients about the effects of sugary drinks.
  • Serve or bring no-sugar drinks to my next community event.
  • Tell other parents and caregivers about how much sugar is in sports drinks, juice drinks and sodas and why I choose healthy drinks.

The American Heart Association is working together with the Alliance for a Healthier Vermont to tackle obesity and sugary drinks in Vermont. Learn more by visiting:  http://allianceforahealthiervt.org/.

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New York City Tackles Obesity!

Did you see the news?  New York City recently announced that they've achieved a significant drop in the rate of severe obesity among our city's kids.  A nearly 10% decline of this leading cause of heart disease and stroke is a tremendous achievement!  However, the thing I liked most about this announcement (linked below), is the city's eye to the future.  It's right there in Commissioner's Bassett top quote.  More needs to be done.  Chancellor Farina's quote is an important one as well.  If health and wellness are truly top priorities for this administration - let's work together to pass laws that will serve to protect more kids from the dangers of inactivity and poor nutrition!

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2014/pr019-14.shtml

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Meet the Newest Member of the Advocacy Team: Violet J. Ruiz

Written by Violet R., Government Relations Director, Los Angeles

Hello YTC advocates! It is my pleasure to write this post as the new Government Relations Director in Los Angeles. It is an honor to serve the American Heart Association in building healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. I look forward to working with you in achieving our 2020 Impact Goal: to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20%, by 2020.

I have made it my lifelong mission to help others achieve successful, productive, and happier lives. My career and passion to improve the health for all started with the death of my dear grandmother. She passed away in 2001 from sudden cardiac arrest due to small cell lung cancer. She was the most humble, giving, and caring person I ever knew. She exemplified the importance of giving back to the community and shaped the person I am today. Join me in taking a stand against heart disease-the number one killer of women.

Prior to joining the American Heart Association I worked as a Field Representative with the California State Legislature. During my time with the Legislature I was able to further develop my knowledge and passion for healthcare access to all communities. I helped the local district office educate constituents regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and how to access benefits. Most recently I served as a Grant Field Monitor, helping administer the Education and Outreach and Navigator grant programs for Covered California (California’s Health Benefit Exchange).

My dream job has always been focused on helping others and advancing the health of our community. I am thrilled to “hit the ground running” and work with you! YTC advocates are the most important and influential partners of the American Heart Association. I look forward to working with you in advocating for important public health policies. Please contact me, or Josh Brown - Grassroots Advocacy Director, if you have any questions or are interested in volunteering.

Thank you for your dedication, enthusiasm, and participation towards saving lives!

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Oklahoma Releases 2014 State of the State Health Report

The 2014 State of the State’s Health Report is an in-depth look at the health status of resident in Oklahoma based off various health measures.

Two critical measures of the health of Oklahoma – infant mortality and smoking rates – have shown signs of decrease, as a result, of the state’s investment in evidence-based practices and approaches implemented by community coalitions and statewide organizations. Enactment of required Pulse Oximetry screenings is an example of such a practice that is already saving lives in Oklahoma

The state ranks 44th in overall health status of its residents compared to other states in the nation. Oklahoma still has a high prevalence of death due to heart disease and stroke. Oklahoma has the third highest rate of death due to heart disease and fourth highest rate of death due to stroke in the nation.  Causes are attributed to unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors such as low physical activity and lack of fruit and vegetable consumption, along with a high prevalence of smoking and obesity.

For more information, please visit the Oklahoma Health Department’s website: http://www.ok.gov/health/pub/boh/state/

How would you recommend Oklahoma reverse these numbers?

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Happy New Year, New York City!

Say what?? That's right...it's the new fiscal year for the American Heart Association. While much of our focus remained on the state-level opportunities, we have a lot to celebrate here in New York City! Let's take a look back as we prepare to move forward:

CPR in Schools legislation: Thanks to your help as dedicated advocates and Council Members Corey Johnson and Costa Constantinides, New York City Council introduced Resolution 193 which will require that the NYC Chancellor consider implementing the training requirement for city secondary schools. The resolution now resides in the Council Education Committee and is gathering speed! Is your Council Member a sponsor yet? If you haven't already done so, please take action on the most recent NYC action alert to make sure they know how important this curriculum standard is!

Hands-Only CPR Training at City Council Offices: On June 4th, the American Heart Association traveled downtown to train City Council Members and their staff on the life-saving skill of Hands-Only CPR. Thanks to Council Member Julissa Ferreras, who helped sponsor the event, our city resolution (Res 193) has now accumulated almost a dozen sponsors.

Hands-Only CPR Training at Foley Square Park: Thanks to a generous donation, the American Heart Association provided an all-day Hands-Only CPR training on June 5th in the shadow of the Tweed Courthouse – home to the NYC Department of Education. More than 200 New Yorkers were trained in Hands-Only CPR using the CPR Anytime kits. Despite the threat of rain, New York City proved that Hands-Only CPR training is in-demand and the CPR in Schools proposal is warranted.

New York City leads the way against Big Tobacco: As the Bloomberg administration looked to the conclusion of their term, the Mayor, Commissioner Farley and Speaker Quinn prioritized several policies aimed at further lowering our city’s smoking rates. The Sensible Tobacco Enforcement law improves the enforcement of the city’s tax laws while also establishing a new minimum price floor ($10.50) for all packs of cigarettes and little cigars – and requiring that inexpensive cigars be sold in packs no less than four and little cigars in packs of 20. At the same time, the city enacted a new law that dictates a minimum sales age of 21 for cigarettes, tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Speaking of E-cigarettes: The American Heart Association is supportive of efforts to include electronic cigarettes in clean indoor air laws. As e-cigarettes didn't exist in the US when New York City approved our Smoke Free Air Act more than a decade ago, city lawmakers pursued a last-minute opportunity to close that loophole as the clock ticked down on the Council Session. Indeed, this was the final bill signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg before he left office in January.

Thanks to you, we've made great progress toward our goal of making New York City the healthiest city in America. We have a long way to go - but thanks to your dedication, we are in great shape as we build momentum with our new city decision-makers!

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Vermont Schools Fighting Obesity!

The American Heart Association has been working with the statewide coalition Eat Well Play More Vermont (EWPM) to reduce childhood obesity. The EWPM coalition offered the opportunity for schools across Vermont to apply for grants to reduce obesity in their communities and we received a number of great proposals.

The following schools were chosen to receive the first round of grants averaging around $3,000. Click on the links to view the amazing videos schools submitted for their projects!

Berlin Elementary School

Fitness Course

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU5KKr7mNv0&feature=youtu.be

Brattleboro Area Middle School

Brattleboro Enrichment Activities for Middle Schoolers (BEAMS)

http://youtu.be/nclvNVbQdHM

Hartland Elementary

Tabata Kids/Brain Fit Room

http://youtu.be/tX9SMn9Hwjc

Northfield Middle High School

Healthy Green Smoothy Movement

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErTNSHCYWD4

St. Albans City School

School Walking Program

http://player.vimeo.com/video/93659698

Winooski Middle School

Spartans in Motion (SIM)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHPuDhs6bvA

A second round of grants will be offered this fall.

 

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Mary Cushman - An Advocacy "Hero"

American Heart Association Advocate and Board Member Mary Cushman takes her role as an advocate seriously, serving on both the Vermont and National AHA Advocacy Committees.

As a physician and researcher, she knows both are important to preventing lives lost to heart disease and stroke.  But she also knows that advocacy is the third important tool in her war chest to prevent these terrible diseases and save lives through policy change.

Mary has traveled to Washington, DC to urge Vermont's Congressional Delegation to support research funding. She takes action often through the American Heart Association's own www.yourethecure.org advocacy network and has worked on such issues as CPR in Schools, a tobacco tax and sugar sweetened beverage tax and recreational use of school property.  She's been so active, that she is now ranked as a  Hero in our network, having earned over 700 points for her actions in responding to advocacy alerts. Way to go Mary!

The more you take action, the more points you'll earn and the higher your advocacy status will climb! Thanks to Mary and all our advocates for making advocacy a priority.

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You Can Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Despite New Hampshire being rated one of the healthiest states in the country, we are battling our own obesity epidemic. The rate of overweight and obesity in our adult population is about 60%. And perhaps more startling, almost a third of NH children are also overweight. The American Heart Association knows obesity is a complex issue, both its causes and its remedies, and will require a multi-pronged approach to solve the problem. Won’t you join the AHA’s movement to learn how you can help advocate for healthier environments for our children? Visit www.preventobesity.net to see how we can improve nutrition and physical activity opportunities in our schools and communities.

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End of Session Wrap-up

The NYS Session has wrapped up and we're happy to report substantial progress in many areas.  Here's a quick recap.

CPR in Schools bill passes both houses:  Thanks to the help of our dedicated advocates and the bill sponsors, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and Senator Mark Grisanti, we took a major step to ensure NYS students learn CPR before graduation.  The CPR in Schools bill will now be sent to the Governor.  The new proposal specifically calls for the following:

  • The Commissioner of the State Education Department would have 180 days to make recommendations to the Board of Regents regarding the adoption of CPR/AED instruction in the curriculum.  
  • The Commissioner would need to seek input from interested parties – teachers, administrators, parents, students and other interested parties; and consider time and financial impacts.
  • The Board of Regents would then have 60 days to accept or reject recommendations.

CPR “So Many Reasons” Campaign launched:  This May, the American Heart Association launched a heartwarming campaign entitled “So Many Reasons.  Starting in May and until the CPR bill passed both houses, we sent a “reason” to our state lawmakers about why the CPR in Schools bill should pass. The reasons were real stories about real New Yorkers - people alive because of CPR and/or AED use; or people who are not alive because CPR wasn’t started, or not started soon enough.

Brianna’s Law passes NYS Assembly:  Legislation to ensure all police officers are certified in CPR every two years passed the NYS Assembly.  

Our first ever CPR Rally:  On June 3rd the Capitol was a sea of red at our first ever CPR rally!  Approximately 100 volunteers traveled to the Capitol to show lawmakers how to keep the beat.  Following a press conference, volunteers from throughout the state all performed CPR together to the beat of Stayin’ Alive.  Volunteers then spoke directly with lawmakers.

Physical Fitness and Activity Bill to be sent to the Governor: We know how important physical activity is for our heart health.  The American Heart Association supported legislation to create a New York State Physical Fitness and Activity Education Campaign. This campaign would encourage physical activity which will improve the fitness of the people of NYS and will complement existing programs administered by the department of health that develop and promote nutrition and wellness activities.

E-cigarettes:  The American Heart Association is supportive of legislation to include e-cigarettes in the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA).  Why?  Electronic cigarettes didn’t exist when we enacted the CIAA and we don’t know the impact that long term exposure has on cardiovascular health. Bills moved in both houses this session however it did not come up for a full vote by the Senate or the Assembly.

Trans Fat:  Legislation to eliminate the use of sneaky trans fat in restaurants moved in both houses however the bill couldn’t compete with the many other priorities of legislators and didn’t pass this session.  We will continue to push to take this dangerous fat off the menu.

Protecting your health - Funding maintained for Obesity prevention and Tobacco Control:  Despite attempts to consolidate funding for chronic disease programs, we were able to garner support to reject this approach and maintain transparency.  And funding for programs designed to prevent heart disease and stroke was maintained.

Not one, but two successful Lobby Days! For the first time ever, we held two NYS State Lobby Days.  And the results speak for themselves.  Our volunteers are just the best!  We maintained funding for heart/stroke prevention and passed a CPR in Schools bill! 

Thanks for all that you do!

 

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Need your voice TODAY!

Hey advocates—Since you are soooo good at getting things passed, we could really use your help on our trans fat legislation! Trans fat = dangerous. But it is still lurking on restaurant menus. Any chance you can use some of your advocacy zeal to help us get this passed too?  Today is the LAST day of session and we need your voice!  Send an email by clicking here:  

http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=35145

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