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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:

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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:


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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?    

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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! 

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!

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Mississippi Ranks Last for Healthy Life Expectancy

According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the healthy life expectancy (HLE) for all adults at 65 was highest observed in Hawaii (16.2 years) and the lowest was in Mississippi (10.8 years).

Healthy life expectancy (HLE) is a population health measure that estimates expected years of life in good health for people at a given age. The CDC used a three-year span of gathered data from the National Vital Statistics Systems, U.S. Census Bureau and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to calculate HLEs by sex and race for each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. for all people aged 65 years.

“Where you live in the United States shouldn't determine how long and how healthy you live - but it does, far more than it should,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “Not only do people in certain states and African-Americans live shorter lives, they also live a greater proportion of their last years in poor health. It will be important moving forward to support prevention programs that make it easier for people to be healthy no matter where they live."

Read the full article and press release from the CDC.  

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