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August Recess - Supporting the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

written by Nicole Olmstead, Government Relations Director, Arizona

This fall students are heading back to healthier school lunches.  As a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, schools are now required to provide meals with more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  They must limit the amount of sodium, fats and calories.  And for the first time, this year, snacks and fund raisers are included in the standards. 

However, there are groups out there that are working to weaken the standards.  86% of the schools in the United States are complying with these standards.  We are finally making strides in offering better breakfasts and lunches to our children.  Let your legislators know that you support full implementation of the rules by taking action in the Action Center here.  Let’s ensure our school children have the best meals they can while at school. 

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What is Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Did you know that one in every 100,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 is diagnosed with a diseased state of the heart known as cardiomyopathy?  While it is a relatively rare condition in kids, it poses serious health risks, making early diagnosis important.  As the heart weakens due to abnormities of the muscle fibers, it loses the ability to pump blood effectively and heart failure or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias or dysrhythmia) may occur.

That’s why we’re proud to team up with the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation this month- Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Awareness Month- to make more parents aware of this condition (signs and symptoms) and to spread the word about the policy changes we can all support to protect our youngest hearts.
 
As a You’re the Cure advocate, you know how important medical research is to improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease.  And pediatric cardiomyopathy is no exception.  However, a serious lack of research on this condition leaves many unanswered questions about its causes.  On behalf of all young pediatric cardiomyopathy patients, join us in calling on Congress to prioritize our nation’s investment in medical research.
  
Additionally, we must speak-up to better equip schools to respond quickly to medical emergencies, such as cardiac arrest caused by pediatric cardiomyopathy.  State laws, like the one passed in Massachusetts, require schools to develop emergency medical response plans that can include:

  • A method to establish a rapid communication system linking all parts of the school campus with Emergency Medical Services
  • Protocols for activating EMS and additional emergency personnel in the event of a medical emergency
  • A determination of EMS response time to any location on campus
  • A method for providing training in CPR and First Aid to teachers, athletic coaches, trainers and others – which may include High School students
  • A listing of the location of AEDs and the school personnel trained to use the AED

CPR high school graduation requirements are another important measure to ensure bystanders, particularly in the school setting, are prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency.  19 states have already passed these life-saving laws and we’re on a mission to ensure every student in every state graduates ‘CPR Smart’.
   
With increased awareness and research of pediatric cardiomyopathy and policy changes to ensure communities and schools are able to respond to cardiac emergencies, we can protect more young hearts.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy?  Join our new Support Network today to connect with others who share the heart condition.   

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J. Antonio G Lopez, MD FAHA

J. Antonio G. Lopez, MD FAHA

The American Heart Association (AHA) has supported and played a pivotal role throughout my career in cardiovascular research, leading to my focus on the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Presently, I am the Director of Preventive Cardiology, the Lipid clinic, and LDL apheresis Program, and Hypertension Consultation Service at the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise Idaho. Without the support for cardiovascular research, the understanding of disease processes that lead to important scientific advances would not be possible. Our current knowledge of risk factors (high cholesterol, low good cholesterol (HDL), diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and family history of premature heart disease) leading to the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease was based on epidemiologic research.  Advocacy is fundamental to continue our progress.

I support advocacy on behalf of the American Heart Association chiefly for the health of our communities. For example, the AHA supports coverage of preventive benefits in private and public health insurance plans and the implementation of policies that provide adequate resources and encourage healthy choices. Locally, the AHA as a member of the Smokefree Idaho coalition is working to make communities across our state smoke free, inspiring more Americans to live in an environment that supports a heart-healthy lifestyle. Moreover, through our education efforts the AHA is reaching at-risk populations with cause initiatives and online tools. Thus, strong advocacy, sustained efforts, and programs such as “You’re The Cure” will significantly impact the reduction of cardiovascular disease.

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Mark Your Calendar for the EmpowerMEnt Challenge!

We’re gearing up for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and we want you to be in on all of the action!  Throughout September, we’re encouraging families across the country to take control of their healthy by participating in the EmpowerMEnt Challenge.  Each week, families and kids will pursue a different goal, including eating more fruits and veggies, limiting sugary drinks, reducing sodium intake, and increasing physical activity.  Each goal is fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family.  And by the end of the month, families will be a step ahead on the road to a heart-healthy life. 

So mark your calendar for the challenge kick-off on September 1st!  Complimentary templates and activities, broken down into the themed weeks, are now available on www.heart.org/healthierkids.  In addition, you're invited to join our EmpowerMEnt Challenge Facebook group, where you can make the commitment to take the challenge and share your progress with others.  

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Advocate Spotlight - Max Stein

Max Stein, Idaho

This month, we wanted to feature and thank our Smokefree Idaho Community Educator, Max Stein.  Max has been working tirelessly in communities across the state to educate individuals and businesses on the harms of secondhand smoke.  Because of his work, Smokefree Idaho has reached an important milestone: more than 100 organizations and businesses have now signed on as endorsers!  He has been out at community events, getting much needed postcards and petition signatures. 

We here at the American Heart Association would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Max and his many hours to Smokefree Idaho!  We couldn’t have made all the progress we have without him!  If you agree with us that everyone deserves the right to breathe clean air and would like to help us make that a reality in your community, email Adrean at adrean.cavener@heart.org.

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Help Make Our Communities Smokefree

The American Heart Association as a member of the Smokefree Idaho coalition is working to make communities across our state smokefree. With help from advocates like you we have helped pass smokefree ordinances in Boise and Ketchum that include all indoor places including bars.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that secondhand tobacco smoke is directly linked to heart disease, the number one killer of both men and women. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

We believe that everyone has the right to breathe clean air. We believe that workers should not be forced to choose between their job and their health.

If you would like to help us make your community smokefree please click here and share your comments of support.

We need your help to make our cities healthier places.

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Have a Heart Healthy Summer

Guest Blogger: Kami Sutton, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator

Happy Summer, You’re the Cure Advocates! As the temperatures are rising and we are all preparing for the fun activities of summertime, I thought I would share with you my favorite low sodium summertime recipe! As a congenital heart defect survivor and someone who is in a constant battle against Congestive Heart Failure, I have learned how to eat a healthy low sodium diet.

Even for healthy hearts it is important to eat a well-balanced diet to prevent heart disease and that includes a diet low in sodium and processed foods. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further.

With that in mind I present to you a delicious low sodium recipe to take to your next summer picnic or BBQ!

Black Bean Salad (or Salsa)

6 servings

 

About $0.84 per serving

 

1 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans, drained

1 15-ounce can no-salt added or low-sodium kernel corn, drained or ¾ cup frozen corn, thawed

1 medium red bell pepper or 1 tomato diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic from jar

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

 

Toss all together, chill at least one hour.

TIP: Serve this as a side salad to a meal or warm in microwave and use as a filling for tacos!

For nutrition facts and links to more healthy recipes, visit: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyCooking/Black-Bean-Salad-or-Salsa_UCM_429539_Article.jsp

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Idaho Do You Know How To Do Hands-Only CPR?

Last week was National CPR Awareness Week and I wanted to ask for your help.

Too few Idahoans know how simple it is to learn and perform Hands-Only CPR—but with your help, we can change that.

Would you share this video PSA about Hands-Only CPR on Facebook? Educating your friends and family members is one of the best ways to spread the word.

SHARE THIS! Copy and paste this into your Facebook status:

WOULD YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO? Last week was National CPR Awareness Week and every person in Idaho should know Hands-Only CPR. Step 1: Call 9-1-1. Step 2: Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives. You could save the life of a loved one or a stranger. Watch this video and please share. #HandsOnlyCPR - http://youtu.be/n5hP4DIBCEE

Unfortunately, 90% of people that suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital don’t survive, and most people don’t know what to do in those emergency situations. But every person in Idaho can learn Hands-Only CPR in a few short minutes, and be equipped to save the life of a loved one or a stranger.

That’s why we worked so hard this year to make Hands-Only CPR a requirement for all high school students in Idaho. This requirement goes into effect for freshman staring school in the fall of 2015. That means thousands of new lifesavers will be in our communities starting in the spring of 2016 and that number will continue to grow every year.

If you’re not a Facebook user, you can still help! Just send out the message in an email to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.

Thank you so much for your help.

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What Could Be More Important?

Guest Blogger: Pat Tucker

I have met two people in my entire life who have been saved by CPR.  Both of them beautiful young boys who understood at their tender ages that they would not be alive today without someone bringing them back to life with CPR.  They both seem to have a special sense of their own mission, and that they need to pay back for the priceless gift of a second chance at life that they were given. 

May 21, 2008, Erik Jackson, just a 2-year-old toddler, fell down a hole filled with 3 feet of water.  He was dead.  He had no pulse.  But because CPR was used on Erik until he reached the hospital, he is a healthy, happy, and bright 8-year-old today.  “When you save a child’s life, it has a ripple effect . . . it literally changes history,” his father, Bruce Jackson passionately stated at a conference where he recounted the miracle of Erik’s life.

June 1, 2009, at 5 years of age, Cody Fitzpatrick was not a strong swimmer when he went to the neighborhood pool with his cousins and brother.  The next thing his aunt saw was Cody sunk at the bottom of the pool.  Thanks to the bystander who performed CPR on Cody as soon as he was pulled out of the water, Cody is a precocious, 10-year-old who loves jiu jitsu today.  “Everyone needs to know CPR because most likely the person you will have to save is one you love!” his mother, Jami Fitzpatrick reminds people when sharing the miracle of Cody’s life.

August 15, 2002, Cady Tucker, 11, took the brunt of a massive three car crash caused by a driver with uncontrolled blood sugar, was partially ejected from the car though seat-belted in, her head hit the door pillar, her left hand upraised to protect herself from the dashboard coming at her, locked in that position after her wrist snapped in two.  Because of lack of awareness, when a bystander felt no pulse and told the EMT assigned to Cady, “She’s already gone,” the EMT turned around and walked away.  No one provided CPR.  No one provided emergency medical treatment. 

Three different scenarios.  Two miracles.  One failure to try.

I am Cady’s mother.  I know each day the anguish of the death of an only child, made even worse by my child receiving no help.  Could Cady have been saved—even long enough for me to get to the scene and touch her alive, tell her I love her, and hold her?  I will never know.  But what I am certain of is that if CPR had been performed, I would have the blessing of knowing that someone had tried to save her life, that what could have been done for my daughter was done—regardless of the outcome.

There is nothing more valuable than a human life.  Parents know we value most the lives of our children.  If it were only Erik and Cody given the second chance at life to grow up and make this world a better place, it would be enough for me to shout from the rooftops that, as Cody’s mother said, “Everyone needs to know CPR!”  But the reality is 40,000 lives could be saved each year in this country by combining CPR with use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). 

Just last month, a co-worker and friend of mine succumbed to sudden cardiac arrest at work, another co-worker performed CPR, and another co‑worker operated the AED.  Tragically, my co-worker did not survive, but her family and co-workers have the assurance that everything that could have been done for her was done, and I know the unquantifiable difference that makes.  But, even more importantly, and read this very carefully, 80% of the time, sudden cardiac arrest occurs at home, so the life you most likely would save would be someone you love very much.  What could be more important than knowing CPR?  When your loved one’s life is on the line, nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

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Advocate Spotlight - Cody Fitzpatrick

Cody Fitzpatrick, Idaho

Cody Fitzpatrick is one of our newest volunteers at the American Heart Association in Idaho.  When Cody was just 5 years old, he was found at the bottom of the community pool he was visiting with family.  A bystander, Jennifer, or Cody’s “angel” as the Fitzpatrick family like to call her, jumped into action and performed CPR on Cody for an astonishing 15 minutes before EMS personnel arrived.  Because of Jennifer’s quick response, Cody is an active, vibrant 10 year old who just graduated from the 5th grade. 

 Cody, along with his mother Jami, worked with the American Heart Association to pass the recent CPR requirement for high school graduation.  Cody attended our Idaho Lobby Day, spoke to legislators about the importance of CPR, and even taught a few of them this life-saving skill. Cody might be young but he is a powerful advocate for CPR. Thanks so much to the Fitzpatrick family for helping to train the next generation of lifesavers!

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