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A Heartfelt Thanks

Each year, we like to pause and give thanks during National Volunteer Week (April 6th-12th) for the amazing contributions of volunteers like you.  We know you have a choice when deciding which organization to dedicate your time and talents to and we’re honored you’ve chosen to contribute to the American Heart Association’s mission.  Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to meet many You’re the Cure advocates in person to say ‘thanks’, but since getting together isn’t always possible, I wanted to share this special video highlighting the progress you’ve made possible.

(Please visit the site to view this video) 

You’ll see we are making strides to create smoke-free communities across the country, develop the next generation of life-savers trained in CPR, and ensure all students have healthy meal choices in schools.  The effort you’ve made to contact your lawmakers, share your story, and spread the word through your social networks have led to those successes and more. In fact, in just the last eight months, You’re the Cure advocates have helped contacted local, state, and federal lawmakers more than 140,000 times and it’s these messages that can lead to policy wins.

So take a moment to pat yourself on the back and enjoy a job well done!  I look forward to continuing our efforts to pursue policy changes that will help build healthier communities and healthier lives for all Americans. We couldn’t do it without you – thanks!

- Clarissa

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Join Us for the 2014 Walkable Bikeable Delaware Summit

Join us on May 1st in Dover for the 2014 Walkable Bikeable Delaware Summit! The summit will bring together representatives from "bicycle-friendly" communities in Portland, Oregon and Boulder, Colorado, as well as Delaware elected officials, engineers, planners, cyclists, public health professionals and greenway and trail advocates.

Making our state more walkable and bikeable is one of the best ways to improve quality of life and promote healthy lifestyles to combat heart disease and stroke, the No 1 and No 4 killers in the US. Research shows that building bike/pedestrian trails reduces health care costs associated with physical inactivity. Every $1 invested in building bike and pedestrian trails brings nearly $3 in medical cost savings.

REGISTER TODAY and don’t forget to send this e-mail to your family and friends and ask them to join us on May 1st!

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Will Freeman, Kentucky

Will Freeman Kentucky

When his younger brother's friend nearly died at a birthday party, Will Freeman decided to take action--by teaching hands-only CPR to his peers at Henry Clay High School. In addition to recently training his entire class of over 500 students, the Lexington, Kentucky, senior has been working closely with the American Heart Association throughout the 2014 Legislative Session to gain support for a bill that would ensure all high school students in the state learn CPR before they graduate.

Read more about Will's efforts and how you can help create a new generation of lifesavers in your state by supporting CPR training for all high school students!

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Advocate Spotlight: Kathy Minx and Al Lessie

Kathy Minx and Al Lessie

My husband, Al, has very high cholesterol - around 450! It is from his mother's side of the family and no one on that side of the family lived past age 50. He had already had a major heart attack at age 31 and had open heart surgery at that time. He was actually one of the first to receive that surgery and the doctors told him he only had three years to live - they had never seen someone that young needing open heart surgery.

I knew he could have another heart attack but how do you prepare for that? He was in shape, had regular treadmill tests at his doctor's office and was receiving a clean bill of health. We decided to train for a 26-mile half marathon and we both ran the course in under two hours.

About one month after the race, we played 18 holes of golf and we walked the course (about 7 miles) as usual. We had a great evening, came home to fix dinner and relax. All of a sudden, my husband hit the floor and turned blue in the face. I was panicking but knew enough to call 911 first. I had been a lifeguard 25 years earlier and remembered my CPR training. I rolled him over and started breathing into his mouth and providing chest compressions. The ambulance arrived and gave him electric shock 5 times - the EMT told me he was so sorry for my loss. On the 6th time, he came back to life but had been unconscious for 9 minutes.

We rushed to the hospital and he was in a coma for four days. When he woke up, the doctor told me that the only reason he was alive was because I started CPR. Another man was brought in the same evening and was out for 9 minutes but did not have CPR. His outcome wasn't so good.

I am so thankful I had that training and have kept up my certification every two years.

By the way, my husband just turned 65 and has not had another incident. We showed that doctor who told him he only had 3 years!

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Did You Know We Can Teach Delaware's Students CPR in Less Than 30 Minutes?

Did you know we can teach Delaware's students how to save a life with CPR in less than 30 minutes? Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States and 88% of sudden cardiac arrests occur at home. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 7-10 percent. That's why it's important that we all learn how easy---and critical---it is to perform CPR when needed. In less than one class period, we can train our students in CPR, adding thousands of lifesavers to our communities each year. Send your lawmakers a message now urging their support of CPR training for Delaware's students!

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March is National Nutrition Month--What Steps Will You Take to Eat Healthier?

March is National Nutrition Month and what better time to make these simple steps to eating healthier part of your daily routine? It's easier than you think!

Want to learn more? Visit our Nutrition Center for even more ways to incorporate healthy eating into your life!

 

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Big Changes in Store for Food Labels

After more than two decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing sweeping changes to the nutrition labels on packaged foods.

The proposals would require food manufacturers to list added sugars, nutrition counts for more-realistic portion sizes and total nutrition information for multiple servings of food within a single package.  The government also wants to require potassium and vitamin D to be listed.

The changes are being released on Thursday during a critical time in the U.S. A third of all adults in the nation are obese, increasing the risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Another third of Americans are overweight.

“Eating healthy is a habit all Americans need to have and the FDA’s new nutrition labels will help put that goal within reach,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said. “By arming consumers with more knowledge about nutritional content, calories and serving sizes, the new labeling information proposed by the FDA takes an important step toward improving the health of all Americans.”

Despite the recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that obesity has declined by 43 percent for children ages 2 to 5, it has not changed significantly for adults or the larger pool of kids ages 2 to 19.

Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. And obesity in children is causing a health problems that used to be seen only in adults, like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

Changes to nutrition labels will take time. The FDA will collect comments for 90 days on its proposed new rules from food manufacturers, the general public and nutrition and health advocates. It will consider clarifications or changes based on the comments, then give food manufacturers time to reprint their labels and replace existing inventory.

“These new labels will empower consumers with a valuable source of nutrition information, and the American Heart Association commends the FDA for proposing these changes,” Brown said.

Proposed changes include:

Added sugars: for the first time, added sugars will be on the nutrition facts panel. Previously, naturally-occurring and added sugars were combined into a single listing of “total sugars.” This will allow consumers to know how much sugar has been added by the manufacturer. The AHA recommends that women consume a maximum of 100 calories a day from added sugars, or 25 grams, and men consume 150 calories a day, or 37.5 grams.

“The addition of added sugars to the Nutrition Facts Panel is a giant step forward,” said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., chair of the AHA’s nutrition committee and professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “High intakes of added sugars are associated with many risk factors for heart disease including obesity, high blood pressure, inflammation and elevated triglyceride levels. A recent study demonstrated an association between high intakes of added sugars and death from cardiovascular disease. Consumers want to know how much sugar has been added during the processing or preparation of foods so they can make wise decisions about the foods they eat.”

Serving sizes: Adjusted for 17 categories of foods to better reflect what people are actually consuming. For example, ice cream will go from ½ cup to 1 cup; muffins and bagels will go from ½ to 1; and beverages will go from 8 ounces to 12 oz. This gives people a more realistic idea of what they’re actually consuming in a single sitting, so they can better monitor what they’re eating and make healthier choices.

Sodium: This will be adjusted slightly to reflect a 2,300 milligram daily value, which is the maximum amount per day recommended in the dietary guidelines for someone consuming a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet. The American Heart Association recommends that the ideal sodium consumption, especially for people trying to lower their blood pressure, is 1,500 mg. per day.  “There is strong scientific evidence that indicates lowering sodium reduction can result in significant reductions in blood pressure,” Brown said. ”Therefore, the association will continue to recommend sodium intake to be limited to 1,500 milligrams a day. We intend to work with the FDA, during this 90-day comment period and beyond if need be, to highlight the increased benefits from further sodium reductions and to advocate for stronger action.”

Package size: Like serving sizes, package sizes will be labeled more accurately. So a large muffin or bottle of soda will have nutrition information for the entire package.

Per serving and per package: If a package has 2-4 servings in it, the label will be required to show nutrition information per serving and per package. This helps make it clear when the package has multiple servings inside.

Calories bigger and bolder: Although the format of the label won’t change dramatically, calories and serving sizes will be emphasized with a bigger and bolder font. This may help people make healthier choices by knowing what they’re consuming.

Nutrient listings: The amount of potassium and vitamin D will now be required, calcium and iron will remain and vitamins A and C will be optional. When the nutrition label was last updated 20 years ago, health officials were more concerned about people getting enough of vitamins A and C, but attention now is on potassium and D.

Want to help inform friends & family about these changes?  Share this graphic on Facebook.





















For more information:

FDA announcement

AHA CEO Nancy Brown's Statement

Understanding food nutrition labels

American Heart Association Nutrition Center 

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Did You Know That, In Less Than 30 Minutes, We Can Teach DE's Students How to Save a Life With CPR?

Did you know that, in less than 30 minutes, we can teach Delaware's students how to save a life with CPR? Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States and 88% of sudden cardiac arrests occur at home. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 7-10 percent. That's why it's important that we all learn how easy---and critical---it is to perform CPR when needed. 

In less than one class period, we can train our students in CPR, adding thousands of lifesavers to our communities each year. Send your lawmakers a message now urging their support of CPR training for Delaware's students!

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Advocate Spotlight: Mark Shacklette

Mark Shacklette

In February of 1967, my father, Dr. Charles L. Shacklette, died of a heart attack.  He was only 45 years old and I was only 14 months old.  In November of 2007, I also had a heart attack: a "widow-maker." And this still happened despite all the precautions I had taken.  I was very much aware of my family’s history of heart disease and wanted to ensure I didn’t suffer the same fate as my dad.  I ate right and I exercised regularly.  I maintained a very healthy weight.  I NEVER smoked.  I was, and still am, a fitness instructor at the YMCA.  And despite all of this I also suffered a heart attack, but a stent and a great cardiologist made all the difference.  Because of stents and the research dollars that helped developed them, I survived.  And 6 years later, I am doing very well. 

After my heart attack, I began to ask my mom more about what happened to my dad in February of 1967.  How did he describe the pain?  What were his symptoms?  My mom’s description of his symptoms matched mine – the feeling that someone had hit you in the chest with a sledge-hammer – so I’m convinced my dad also had a widow-maker heart attack.  Unfortunately for mom, it did make her a widow who had to raise five children on her own. 

My dad survived for two days after his initial heart attack.  If only he would have had access to stents like I did.  I’m sure it would have saved him, too, and it would have saved my mom from being a widow. It would have been nice to know my dad.

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Heart Month this February!!

February is American Heart Month and February 7th is National Wear Red Day and, although it’s wonderful to see so many people supporting heart-health awareness this month, it’s important to remember that the battle against heart disease is fought year-round.

How can you help make February a great Heart Month? Macy's encourages everyone to Color Your World Red in support of Go Red For Women! To learn more about other ways to show your support, please visit the Go Red For Women website.

Thank you for helping advance heart-health in our communities!

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