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Kentucky's CPR Bill Passes House, But Senate Leaders Block Measure

Despite Kentucky's CPR in Schools bill passing the House of Representatives unanimously and the overwhelming support and outreach to lawmakers from fantastic You're the Cure advocates like you, ultimately Senate leaders blocked the measure from being heard in the Senate. 

Each year, nearly 424,000 people suffer from sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and only a fraction of victims survive. CPR has been proven to double or triple the chances of a victim surviving cardiac arrest, and over time this bill would ensure that Kentucky has hundreds of thousands of individuals who know how to administer CPR. 

On behalf of the American Heart Association, THANK YOU for your support and dedication and we look forward to working with you over the next year to ensure passage of CPR training for Kentucky's high school students during the 2015 session! Urge those you know to show support for training Kentucky's high school students in CPR by asking them to sign up at www.becprsmart.org!

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Support A Simple Screening That Can Detect Congenital Heart Defects

Did you know that a simple pulse oximetry screening can detect a congenital heart defect that might have otherwise gone unnoticed? House Bill 1420 would ensure that all Pennsylvania newborns are given this lifesaving screening before being discharged from the hospital. Please urge your Senator to make Pennsylvania the next state to support pulse oximetry screening for newborns!

Congenital heart disease affects approximately eight of every 1,000 live births. They are the most common birth defects in the U.S. and the leading killer of infants with birth defects. Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive, inexpensive test conducted on newborns before they leave the hospital, in conjunction with current CHD screening methods. It greatly improves the effectiveness and likelihood of detecting critical or possibly life-threatening heart defects that might otherwise go undetected. In fact, new research suggests wider use of pulse ox screening could help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects.

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November Advocacy Day a Great Success: Make Plans to Join Us in March!

On November 13th, the American Heart Association hosted the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Advocacy Day with our partners, Buckeye Healthy Schools Alliance and Ohio SOPHE.  That day, our fantastic advocates urged support for healthier communities through adoption of state health education standards (HB 256), clarifying liability coverage for schools that open their doors (HB 290, shared use policy) and student participation in quality physical education.

The event was a great success--thanks to our outstanding advocates, of course!  Early reports indicate positive feedback from legislators and we'll be using the information gathered from the advocates to determine our next steps.  Feedback from these meetings is so critical to our success and isn't possible without the support of our advocates!  (Check out the photos below and see additional pictures on our Facebook page of our advocates in action.)

            

If you weren't able to attend this event, you can still support healthier Ohio communities by visiting our Action Center. And make plans to join us for our next event, Ohio Advocacy Day on March 12, 2014. Registration is currently open!

 

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The Tobacco Toll on Ohio Kids

This month, we are looking at the impact of tobacco.  Last week, we posted how tobacco use affects the body.  This week, we'll examine the impact on our kids.

The chart below was developed by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.  Most of us would be surprised to know 21% of high school students smoke, compared to the Ohio adult smoking rate of 25%.  It is clear we can change these numbers through not only through cessation, but also appropriate, best practice tobacco prevention - particularly efforts to prevent kids from starting.  While Ohio once had a nationally recognized tobacco prevention and cessation program, funding was lost for many years.  Although some funding was restored in the last budget, it is still not back to Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended levels. 

Ohio has the ability to make a difference.  Grassroots support of efforts to restoring funding can turn these numbers around.  If you haven't yet, please send a message to your legislators and urge their support!

 

The Toll of Tobacco in Ohio

High school students who smoke 21.1% (135,400)
Male high school students who use smokeless or spit tobacco 19.2% (females use much lower)
Kids (under 18) who become new daily smokers each year 15,000
Kids exposed to secondhand smoke at home 919,000
Packs of cigarettes bought or smoked by kids each year 34.1 million
Adults in Ohio who smoke* 25.1% (2,221,800)

*Due to changes in CDC's methodology, the 2011 adult smoking rate cannot be compared to adult smoking data from previous years.

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A Victory for Pulse Ox Screening!

Last Tuesday morning, we had an important victory here in Pennsylvania for pulse oximetry (pulse ox) screenings. HB 1420 was passed unanimously by the PA House Human Services Committee, sending the pulse ox bill to the full House for a vote.  This legislation would require pulse ox screenings for all newborns in Pennsylvania before leaving the hospital.

Pulse ox screening is a low-cost, non-invasive and painless bedside diagnostic test that can be completed by a technician in as little as 45 seconds. Pulse ox testing is conducted to estimate the percentage of hemoglobin in the blood that is saturated with oxygen. When the screening identifies newborns with low blood oxygen concentration, additional testing can be completed to detect heart defects or other life-threatening conditions that could have gone undetected.

Thank you to all the wonderful families that have given their time to support this issue and share their stories. Please take the time to visit our action center and send your legislator a message letting them know that this issue is important to you.

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Advocate Spotlight: Amiee, Chad and Emilee Mathews

Amiee, Chad and Emilee Mathews Pennsylvania

Emilee was born on October 11, 2003, with what was considered a slight heart murmur.  Within months, Dr. Paul Chlpka recognized Emilee’s heart murmur was intensifying and promptly referred us to Dr. Grace Smith a pediatric cardiologist.  Dr. Smith informed us that Emilee’s heart murmur was caused by an atrial septal defect (ASD), or a hole between the two upper chambers of her heart.  Over time, this would cause the right upper chamber (right atrium) to become overworked and enlarged, eventually damaging her heart. 

At 21 months of age, Emilee had a follow-up echocardiogram to monitor her ASD.  It was determined that it had almost doubled in size prompting the recommendation of Dr. Smith and her colleagues for Emilee to undergo surgery, before her heart was permanently damaged.  On September 12, 2005, Emilee underwent open-heart surgery at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio.  That day surgeons took a piece of the Emilee’s pericardium, a protective sac around the heart, to close up the hole in her heart.  Within 24 hours she was out of the ICU.  On day 3 with the IV still in her foot, Emilee was playing games and riding a Pooh bike through the halls.  Her surgeons rounded the corner and responded, “I think we can let her go home now,”   Emilee is now a healthy and active 9 year old.   She enjoys gymnastics, swimming, soccer and dancing. 

Donations to the American Heart Association are what allow for the development of procedures, techniques and early detection that are saving the lives of countless children today just like Emilee.  Our daughter’s heart is now considered normal, but there are many more heart children who are counting on your donation to give them and their parents hope for a long and healthy future.  Please open your heart so theirs can be made whole. 

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Sharing the News on Shared Use

School playgrounds and other school facilities are natural resources in communities. But, due to fear of lawsuits, many schools don’t open their grounds for shared use by non-profits or other local groups after-school hours.  In many cases, these facilities are locked each day when the last employee leaves and not opened again until the next school day begins.

Recently, Rep. Stebelton introduced legislation, House Bill 290, which would address this issue in Ohio. The bill was just referred to the House Education Committee. 

We need your help!  Shared Use legislation removes an important barrier for schools – liability concerns.  Help us urge quick passage of this legislation by sending a message today to your legislators.

Want to do more?  Hit the share button when you are done and post it on Facebook or your other social networks!

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Healthy School Lunches Help Make Healthy Kids

The American Heart Association is working to help kids and families live heart-healthy lives.  During the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and implementation, efforts have focused on providing greater access to nutritious meals and removing junk food and sugary beverages from vending machines in schools. 

As part of this week’s Healthy School Lunch Week, here are a few ways we are working to reduce childhood obesity.  Click on the links to learn more about each.

Healthy Way to Grow – With inaugural funding provided by The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, the American Heart Association and Nemours are launching Healthy Way to Grow, a technical assistance program, for child care centers across the country aimed at decreasing obesity among children ages birth to five years old. The program provides direct, hands-on assistance, customized training, resources and tools to support healthy lifestyles in child care environments.

NFL PLAY 60 Challenge - The AHA has teamed up with the NFL’s PLAY 60 campaign to create the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge to inspire middle school students to be more physically active and to help schools become places that encourage active lifestyles year-round.

Advocating for Children’s Health - The AHA supports numerous policy issues related to children’s health including efforts to improve quality physical education and school nutrition through state and federal legislation. 

  • improving the nutritional quality of snack foods and beverages in schools;
  • reducing consumption of sugary beverages;
  • protecting children from unhealthy food and beverage marketing;
  • increasing access to affordable healthy foods;
  • increasing access to parks, playgrounds, walking paths, bike lanes and other opportunities to be physically active; and
  • helping youth-serving programs increase children's physical activity levels.

Whether or not you have school aged children, you can join the Healthy Lunch celebration:

  • Pledge to have a healthy lunch this week.
  • Learn more about healthy policies by visiting our action center.
  • Help spread the word by sharing information on your social networks.  By joining our voices, we can bring greater change!

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E-Cigarette Use Among Pennsylvania’s Middle and High School Students Has Doubled

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a new report, which shows that the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) among middle school and high school students more than doubled from 2011 to 2012.

This report raises the concern that e-cigarettes may be a starting point for youth to begin using more traditional tobacco products, including cigarettes. It’s important that we keep the tobacco industry from addicting yet another generation of smokers. If e-cigarettes are luring high school and middle school students into a lifetime of addiction, it represents a public health tragedy.  We cannot sentence more young Americans to a lifetime of battling cardiovascular diseases because of tobacco addiction.

As a way of protecting our youth and all citizens from tobacco in Pennsylvania, we are working to enact a comprehensive Clean Indoor Air law, with no exemptions, that will protect our citizens and our workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Every Pennsylvanian, especially our youth, has the right to breathe clean, safe, smoke-free air. To learn more about current efforts and to show your legislators that tobacco issues are important to you, please visit our Take Action center to send your supportive message today and encourage others to send a message through Facebook.

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E-Cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students Has Doubled

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a new report, which shows that the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) among middle school and high school students more than doubled from 2011 to 2012.

This report raises the concern that e-cigarettes may be a starting point for youth to begin using more traditional tobacco products, including cigarettes. It’s important that we keep the tobacco industry from addicting yet another generation of smokers. If e-cigarettes are luring high school and middle school students into a lifetime of addiction, it represents a public health tragedy.  We cannot sentence more young Americans to a lifetime of battling cardiovascular diseases because of tobacco addiction.

As a way of protecting our youth and all citizens from tobacco in Kentucky, we are working to make all of Kentucky smoke-free. As smoke-free laws have spread, the evidence has also grown that these laws protect public health without harming business in bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues. In fact, 24 states (and Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) have already adopted comprehensive smoke-free laws. Kentuckians, especially our youth, deserve no less! To learn more about current efforts and to show your legislators that tobacco issues are important to you, please visit our Take Action center to send your supportive message today and encourage others to send a message through Facebook.

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