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Research & Advocacy = Results

In the last decade, U.S. hospitalization and death rates for heart disease and stroke have dropped significantly!  That means our research and your advocacy are paying off!  Let's keep it going to reach the American Heart Association’s 2020 goal — to improve the heart health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020.  Learn more here:

http://blog.heart.org/study-finds-significant-drop-in-hospitalizations-deaths-from-heart-disease-stroke/

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Burlington event focuses on sugar's impact on cardiovascular disease and health

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories or 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and 150 calories of 9 for teaspoons for men. But the reality is people are consuming far more. And sugary drinks are the primary source of added sugars in American diets.

Learn more about the impact of sugar on your health, including sugary drinks, from a local and national expert.

AHA volunteer and University of Vermont Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences and Pediatrics Rachel Johnson, R.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., will be speaking about sugar’s impact on health at Community Medical School at the UVM College of Medicine in Burlington on October 7th at 6 pm. The event, which takes place in Carpenter Auditorium in the Given Building, is free and open to the public. For more information, call 802-847-2886.

The following are excerpts from Professor Johnson’s February 2013 testimony to the Vermont legislature about sugary drinks and their impact on health.

On average Americans consume 22 teaspoons - or 352 calories - of added sugars a day, the equivalent of about 2, 12 ounce soft drinks. Teens (age 12-17 years) and children (age 6 – 11 years) average 17 percent of their total calorie intake per day from added sugars.

The majority of Americans’ added sugars intake comes from sugar-sweetened beverages – soft drinks, energy drinks, sport drinks and fruit drinks account for about half of our added sugars intake. Regular calorie soft drinks are the NUMBER ONE single source of calories in the US diet.  This means that nutrient-void, empty-calorie soft drinks contribute more calories than any other food and beverage consumed by Americans. 

A systematic literature review published in 2010, concluded that “all lines of evidence consistently support the conclusion that the consumption of SSBs has contributed to the obesity epidemic.” 

There has been a proliferation of public health campaigns designed to limit Americans’ SSB consumption. 

Why do these recent public health interventions solely target SSBs and not foods like candy, cookies, cakes or other sugary treats? One primary reason is because energy consumed as a beverage is believed to be less satiating than energy consumed as solid food, and the body does not adjust for the liquid intake. According to the American Public Health Association’s policy statement on SSBs they “trick” the body’s food regulatory system and add to total energy intake rather than displacing other sources of calories. Another reason, also pointed out in the APHA’s statement, is that “food is essential to life, but SSBs are not. SSBs are a food-like substance that contribute only empty, nutrient void calories to the diet and exacerbate many chronic health problems.” Lastly, unlike food, there are many beverage options that have no-calories or are low in calories. 

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NYS Legislative session off and running...

State legislators have returned to Albany... and there has been of flurry of activity in the first month back.  Here's what's happening now:

Governor's Budget - 16.2% of adults across the state still smoke.  And 8.5 million adult New Yorkers are considered overweight or obese.  At a time when NYS needs to make obesity prevention and tobacco control a priority, we are concerned that the Executive Budget calls for consolidation of funding for some public health programs - making it difficult to determine the real funding amounts.  It's time to restore transparency - and make tobacco control and obesity prevention a top priority.

CPR in School legislation - Why is it so important to keep pushing for CPR in Schools?  Nearly 400,000 people suffer an out of hospital sudden cardiac arrest each year - and only about 10% survive.  We're happy to report a new bill has been introduced by Senator Mark Grisanti.  While this means we must go back and ask all Senators to sponsor the new bill, we are confident that with strong grassroots supports that we will have a long list of sponsors soon.  AHA continues to highlight schools with successful CPR programs. 

AEDs in Golf courses - Legislation to ensure golf courses are equipped with AEDs is moving quickly thru the Assembly.  The legislation has passed two committees and is currently waiting for a full vote from the Assembly.

Food Marketing to kids - Are food companies targeting unhealthy, high-calorie items to kids?  Are your kids tempted by the shiny toy?  How about letting kids keep the toy and serving a healthier meal at the same time?  Legislation calling for nutrition standards for meals marketed to kids (with a toy or similar incentive) has passed the Assembly Health Committee and is now before the codes committee.

Want to know what you can do to get CPR in Schools passed or how to promote our policy agenda?  Contact: julianne.hart@heart.org

 

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Soup on a cold rainy day…

I love soup, especially tomato soup.  So, when I stepped out at lunch to run errands on this 36-degree damp day, I stopped at a chain restaurant to buy some soup to bring back to my desk.  When I returned, I decided to catch up on emails from Nancy Brown.  Nancy, as most of you know, is the CEO of the American Heart Association.    Her newsletters have a ton of great information.

One of Nancy’s recent newsletters discussed the latest sodium recommendations from the American Heart Association:

“The AHA has long recommended no more than 1,500 milligrams based on scientific evidence. 

The new guidelines suggest that 2,400 milligrams per day is an acceptable "step-down" limit for people with high blood pressure, and that people can reduce their risk of hypertension even more by going down to 1,500 milligrams per day. The main point to remember, however, is that Americans need to reduce their sodium intake drastically from the 3,400-plus milligrams they currently consume -- which puts them at increased risk of hypertension, stroke and other major health problems.” 

As I sat there and sipped my soup, I decided to try to look at the nutrition information.  Because I went to a chain-restaurant, the information was available on line. 

Well, it was not as bad as I feared, but still pretty high.  The soup itself had 510 mg of sodium, about a third of my daily ration.  However, my breakfast had very little sodium, so this was ok.  Right?  However, I did add the little bag of about 6 croutons that they gave me and had (unfortunately) already eaten them.  Darn.  That was a totally unnecessary 170 mg of sodium. 

Luckily, I had not chosen the bread that comes with the soup.  That little piece of bread has 440 mg of sodium.  If I had eaten that bread, my lunch would have come pretty darn close to my daily sodium intake.

Lesson learned….don’t eat the croutons…choose the apple…and pay attention.  Little changes can make a big difference.

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CPR in minutes!

Just one minute of CPR video training could save lives in emergencies, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013...wouldn't you think that NYS lawmakers would want schools to take just minutes out of the school year to teach CPR?  Now will you take one minute to send lawmakers a note in support of CPR in Schools? http://www.supportcprinschools.org/    

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Smoking report finally released!

Think we've won the war on smoking?  Think again...a newly released evaluation of the state's Tobacco Control Program shows that while we've made great progress we have a long way to go!

http://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/docs/2012-12_independent_evaluation_report.pdf 

The American Heart Association continues to fight for strong tobacco control policies...and the Independent Evaluation highlights NYS needs to make a stronger investment to help New Yorkers kick the smoking habit.

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Smoke-Free Texas: All Politics is Local

While state lawmakers have passed on a statewide smoke-free law that hasn’t stopped a number of cities from passing their own strong ordinances.  Right now over 30 Texas cities have what we call “comprehensive” smoke-free laws. 

That means smoking is prohibited in all workplaces including bars and restaurants among other places.  These are popular measures that see strong support when they are brought before city councils and even stronger support after they are passed.

There are a number of communities currently looking at passing smoke-free laws including: Irving, San Marcos, Waxahachie, and Lubbock.  If you are from one of these areas and wants to help turn your town smoke-free, let me know!

We need your help by: attending city council hearings, providing testimony to the council, writing letters to the editor, and recruiting more smoke-free advocates.

Email me if you would like to get more involved!  brian.bowser@heart.org.

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