American Heart Association - You’re the Cure
WELCOME! PLEASE LOGIN OR SIGN UP

LoginLogin with Facebook

Remember me Forgot Password

Be the Cure, Join Today!

  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
SIGN UP
Nevada is a National Leader on Food Issues in Schools

Fantastic news from our advocacy team in Nevada!

I am happy to announce that our Advocacy team scored a huge win when the State of Nevada became the first state in the country to establish policy around “Competitive Foods in Schools” and “Junk Food Marketing in Schools.” Ben Schmauss, our Nevada government relations director, worked directly with the Department of Agriculture on the School Wellness Policy taskforce, to revise the state’s School Wellness Policy.

Teaching our kids good eating habits is an important part of helping them grow up healthy, and passage of this policy will ensure schools in Nevada provide kids an environment for healthy eating. Our goal for “Competitive Foods in Schools” is to increase the number of states that have policies for schools to serve foods that have whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients.

Passage of this policy in Nevada will encourage food and beverage companies to advertise only their healthiest products to young people — assuring that unhealthy foods or beverages are not advertised on school grounds.

Congratulations to Ben and our grassroots team members who helped support and pass these important policy victories!

Read More

The Obesity Rate in Nevada is Still Too High

Guest Blogger: Grace Henscheid, Grassroots Advocacy Director

In early September the State of Obesity Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust of America’s Health was released and it is clear there is still much work to be done in our fight against obesity.

While there are many statistics in the report, one of the numbers that stood out to us was the obesity rate in Nevada. In 2013, Nevada ranked the 40th highest obesity rate in the nation with an adult obesity rate of 26.2%.

We were happy to see that our obesity rate is no longer climbing but in order to lower it we need to build communities that encourage healthy eating and active lifestyles. One of the programs the American Heart Association offers for free to people that are trying to improve their health is the “Life’s Simple 7” program. This program helps participants to manage heart health by understanding the importance of getting active, controlling cholesterol, eating better, managing blood pressure, losing weight, reducing blood sugar and stopping smoking.

While the news about Nevada’s obesity rate is encouraging it is still far too high. Now that we have managed to stop the rise we need to take the next step and work to decrease the obesity rate. With help from advocates like you we believe it is a battle we can win.  If you are interested in seeing how you can get involved, please contact Josh Brown at josh.brown@heart.org.

Read More

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Guest Blogger: Erica Phung, Senior Government Relations Director, Southern California

If you’re reading this blog – you’ve obviously been thinking about heart-health lately, which is a wonderful thing.  Maybe you walk your dog after work, or even prepare healthy meals for your family or friends.  And just maybe you’ve cut down on the sugar-sweetened beverages.  But what about sodium? 

Sodium you say?  Wait – it couldn’t be all that bad, right?

Sodium is a mineral that’s essential for life. It’s regulated in the body by your kidneys, and it helps control your body’s fluid balance. It also helps send nerve impulses and affects muscle function.  But most of us go far over the AHA/ASA guideline of 1,500mg – without even knowing it.

When there’s extra sodium in your bloodstream, it pulls water into your blood vessels, increasing the total volume of blood inside. With more blood flowing through, blood pressure increases. It’s like turning up the water supply to a garden hose — the pressure in the hose increases as more water is blasted through it. Over time, high blood pressure may overstretch or injure the blood vessel walls and speed the build-up of gunky plaque that can block blood flow. The added pressure also tires out the heart by forcing it to work harder to pump blood through the body.  Increased blood pressure is very dangerous – and is known as being the ‘silent killer’ because its symptoms aren’t always obvious. 

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with high blood pressure, eating less sodium can help blunt the rise in blood pressure that occurs with age, and reduce your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and even headaches. The extra water in your body can also lead to bloating and weight gain.

Breaking up is hard to do, especially if it’s with Sneaky Salt.  But we’re here to help.  First, make a pledge to reduce sodium in your diet here, secondly, do a little inventory of the sodium in your daily diet and see how close you are to the 1,500mg benchmark and make an action plan for you and your family.  If you’re stumped, check out the resources and recipes here

One estimate suggested that if Americans moved to an average intake of 1,500 mg/day sodium, it could result in a 25.6 % overall decrease in blood pressure and an estimated $26.2 billion in health care savings!  Another estimate projected that achieving this goal would reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease by anywhere from 500,000 to nearly 1.2 million over the next 10 years!  Breaking up with salt isn’t easy – but it could just save your life!

Read More

Simple Cooking with Heart - Tailgate Chili

Guest Blogger: Erica Phung, Senior Government Relations Director, Southern California

The leaves are changing colors, and your favorite team is on the field. Fall is officially here!  When the weather turns cool, there’s nothing better than a warm, hearty bowl of comforting soup or chili to keep you going.  At Simple Cooking with Heart, we’ve got some great recipes that will keep you satisfied and heart-healthy! Here’s a fun one to try at your next tailgate or game-day party.

Click here to watch the how-to video!

4 Servings; about $3.44 per serving

Ingredients:

1 pound 95% lean ground beef (or ground white meat chicken or turkey for a healthier option) 
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, chopped (optional, only if you like spicy chili)
2 teaspoons minced garlic from the jar or 4 cloves minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 
1 (15.5 oz) can no-salt-added or low-sodium pinto or kidney beans, undrained 
1 (14.5 oz) can  no-salt-added or low-sodium diced tomatoes, undrained 
3/4 cup jarred salsa (lowest sodium available)

Directions:

  1. Spray large saucepan with cooking spray. Cook beef and onion over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly to break up beef. Transfer to colander and rinse with water to drain excess fat. Return beef to pan.
  2. Stir in bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, and cumin, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Optional – serve topped with low-fat grated cheese, a dollop of fat-free sour cream, sliced avocado, snipped cilantro or chopped green onions.

TIP: if you want 5-alarm chili, add 1 teaspoon Cheyenne pepper

Per serving:

Calories

297

Total Fat 

6.0 g

Saturated Fat 

2.5 g

Trans Fat

0.5 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

0.5 g

Monounsaturated Fat 

2.5 g

Cholesterol

62 mg

Sodium 

288 mg

Carbohydrates

29 g

Fiber

7 g

Sugars

8 g

Protein

31 g

Dietary Exchanges:  1 starch, 3 vegetable, 3.5 lean meat

Read More

Vance Lobe - What the Affordable Care Act means for me

Vance Lobe

It’s been almost one year now since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges were implemented and I thought it was time to reflect on how this has affected my life. 

I am a two time heart attack survivor, starting with the first one about five and a half years ago.  I was gainfully employed at the time and had, what I thought, was good insurance through my employer.  I only learned after the attack that it wasn’t as good as I thought, as a lot of things slipped through the cracks.

I lost my job through layoffs just prior to the second attack and was fortunate to at least have the COBRA insurance, even though, it caused serious financial hardship, as I was unemployed and had a large financial obligations for this care. 

For a year and a half I was unemployed without any healthcare insurance, as I was “uninsurable” due to my pre-existing heart condition.

During this time, every time I felt a little pain or just not feeling right, I would think about what would happen to me if I had another heart attack without any insurance.  I couldn’t  even afford "well care" as I was still unemployed and I made too much on unemployment to take advantage of any subsidies for any of the medicines that I needed or any other assistance.

That all changed this past January when I was finally able to get insurance through ACA.  I am able to receive “well care” for almost nothing, receive my life prolonging medicines for free and I no longer stress about my health as I know the insurance will cover the balance of my care in case something else happens.  While I am once again employed, I have chosen to continue to stay in the program, as it’s a good plan for me.

Read More

The Power of Your Story: You can make a Difference

written by Ben Schmauss, Government Relations Director, Nevada

I began my journey advocating for a healthier Nevada as the Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association about 9 months ago. During this relatively short time, I have worked on issues like CPR in schools, heart screenings for newborns, healthy vending, state wide wellness programs, smoke-free communities, and obesity to name a few.  I have realized the power of the voice of a dedicated individual with a story to tell.

So it got me to thinking that my experience is not limited to just the 9 months working at the AHA. My life is filled with personal and professional stories that have formed my passion for health and keeps me motivated to fight for heart healthy legislation on a daily basis.. For example, I am originally from Alaska (a state still working to pass CPR in schools legislation), I used to teach physical education so I know the importance of nutrition and staying physically fit, I recently lost a friend who was only 36 years old to a heart attack illustrating that heart disease can affect anyone at any time in their life, and my elementary school had a tradition of ending the school year with a 6 mile run that every student participated in which sparked my passion for running.

All of my life experiences can and have helped in my effort to advocate for a healthier tomorrow for my kids and my fellow Nevadans.  But I realize having a vehicle to achieve my goals of advocating for health is important. That is why I believe in being an engaged member of yourethecure.org (YTC). Personally I love the numerous fact sheets available in the Key Issues section of the website. In addition, I think the Action Center makes it easy to stay up-to-date on legislative updates and makes it extremely easy to communicate with key legislators to make a difference before critical votes. 

If you are reading this and want to increase your footprint on making Nevada a healthier place then get involved today. We are currently working on childhood obesity, clean indoor air, banning the use electronic cigarettes where smoking is already prohibited, CPR in schools, healthy vending, preventive benefits and much more. Call or e-mail me and let’s work together to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

~Ben Schmauss and his Brother Brad Schmauss pictured above

Read More

Knowing CPR Saved My Son

A lifesaving event retold by Kristy Stoner, UT

In June 2014, my friend Erin and I planned a pool day together as we decided we would spend the afternoon together at her private community pool, where we could eat lunch and chat while the kids could swim. We both have 4 kids all under the age of 8. The day went pretty much as expected, perfect weather, kids got along and we were having a great time.

Towards the end of the day, I had a distinct thought “It’s quiet…” and in a home of 4 boys, quiet is NEVER a good thing, unless they are sleeping. I looked over and noticed only 3 boys, off to the side of the pool. And, after a quick scan of the pool I said “Where’s Max?” Almost immediately Erin yelled, “Kristy! He’s in the water!” I had noticed in the middle of the deep end a small, slightly darker area, all the way at the bottom. My heart dropped when I realized that tiny, hard to see figure was in fact my little boy’s body. What else could it be?!

I knew I had to get him out and I had to do it fast! All in a matter of seconds Erin had taken my 8 month old baby, Harry, from my arms and I jumped in the pool.  Mid jump I remember noticing how calm the water was. There were no signs of struggle on the water. Then I noticed his body-hunched over in an upside down U position, with his arms hanging down and his back at the highest point just like in the movies.

Once I grabbed him and made my way to the side of the pool, Erin called 911. When I got to the side, I tried to throw his body out, but again, I was brutally disappointed when I realized how heavy his lifeless body was.

Once I got him out of the water, I rolled him onto his back, I then realized the color, or lack thereof, of his face. His face, lips, and eyelids were completely bluish grey. All I remember thinking was, "Time to make him breathe.” So I took a large settling breath and proceeded with CPR techniques I learned 10 years ago!

I'm not sure how long I was working on him, we guess it was about 2 minutes, but I remember noticing when I would breathe for him, the color would come back to his face a little at a time.  At one point, Max's eyes flickered a little and I remember the sense of gratitude that rushed over me at that moment. Then all at once, his eyes opened as wide as they could possibly go. He tried to breathe, but he still couldn't, so I breathed for him a couple more times and then set him up to try and get him to breathe on his own!!

I could hear the water inside of his breath so Erin handed me the phone to talk to the 911 dispatcher. The dispatcher wanted me to calm him down, so his body would be able to throw up the remaining water in his lungs. Eventually, he threw up. It was 99% water.

The EMT's arrived a few moments later and started checking him. I'm so glad they brought a fire truck too, because that made Max happy and helped to cheer him up. He talks about it now when he tells the story. How he got to see a fire truck up close and ride in an ambulance!

In the ambulance, Max didn't want to talk much, but he did provide his explanation of events:  "I was swimming on the red floaty, my arms slipped off. I tried doing my scoops (swim strokes), got tired and then I sinked!” Once they knew he was stable they let him go to sleep.

At the hospital, I answered a lot of questions, but am still surprised how many people wanted to know "What did you do?" "How did you do it?" "How long did you do it?" Everyone was so encouraging, so positive, and so sweet to me. I consistently heard "Good job mom! You saved his life!"

Eventually, I was able to talk to the RN watching over Max. He told me "how lucky we were," and I asked him with a drowning like ours, what were the chances of full recovery. He replied with "It is a miracle he is alive." Alive?! A miracle that maybe he didn't have water in his lungs or any noticeable long-term damage, yes, but, a miracle he was alive? Really? Why wouldn't he be? I sat and thought about that for quite a while. Maybe I did do something right. Maybe, just maybe I did save his life! I had no idea! We later asked the doctor why people don't do CPR and the doctor said "either fear, panic, fear of doing something wrong and causing more problems, or the fact that it's gross." We were shocked! But, more importantly, I was so happy that the idea of not doing CPR had never even crossed my mind.

Truth is that 80% of sudden cardiac arrests (when the heart suddenly stops) happen out of a hospital setting, while only 40% of those victims receive CPR on the spot before EMT's arrive and only about 10% of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive the event.

Since the incident Max has made a full recovery; he even persuaded me to let him swim the NEXT DAY!! My lasting thoughts are that we cannot watch our kids 100% of the time. We can’t. We need to teach them to be smart and how to protect themselves. As parents, we also need to be prepared. Be prepared on how to respond in an emergency situation, learn CPR and first aid training that could save the life of a loved one!

If you want to refresh your knowledge of CPR techniques, please visit here.

Read More

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.  

Read More

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

Read More

Update on Efforts to Combat Childhood Obesity

Crafted by Ben Schmauss, Government Relations Director, Nevada

It has been an incredible last 6 months working as the Gov. Relations Director in Nevada for the American Heart Association. I have worked on issues related to CPR in Schools, heart screenings for newborns, healthy vending, smoke free communities, and obesity to name a few.

I have been in the public health and education field for the better part of my 10 year career and the last 5 years I have worked directly with K-12 schools addressing childhood obesity. Yet I never fully understood how everything affects the heart. Prevention is the key and children are the future.

The United States, including Nevada, is in the midst of a full-blown obesity epidemic and this public health crisis includes youngsters. Currently, one third of our youth are overweight or obese. The health consequences of obesity in children are stunning. Research shows that an obese child’s arteries resemble those of a middle-aged adult and overweight adolescents have an overwhelming chance of becoming obese adults. These children are being condemned to an early future of cardiovascular disease, disability, and possible death.

There has never been a more critical time to address and improve the environment where children spend the majority of their waking hours – school.  Schools need to be part of the solution by establishing an environment that fosters a foundation of healthy behaviors in the next generation of children. One way schools can do this is by providing nutrition education and ensuring that the school environment promotes healthy eating habits and physical activity.

In December 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act became law, giving the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to update national nutrition standards for school meals and establish nutrition standards for other foods, called competitive foods, sold on school campuses throughout the school day. These provisions will help schools give children the jump start they need for long, healthy lives.

For the past 4 months I have been participating in the Nevada Statewide Wellness Policy Revision that aims to update our current policy to meet the new federal “Smart Snacks” guidelines established in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.  These revisions will help foster a healthy school environment in the following ways:

  • It will eliminate unhealthy fundraisers during school hours
  • It will ban carbonated beverages from being sold on school grounds
  • It requires that food sold on school properties meet nutritional standards established by the USDA
  • This policy defines physical activity and outlines guidelines for students having the opportunity to move daily.

This wellness policy revision is a good start to creating a healthier tomorrow but there is still room for state and local advocacy to bolster our laws and policies around the health and wellness of children.  To help, please contact our Grassroots Director – Josh Brown.

Read More

[+] Blogs[-] Collapse