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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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Are New Hampshire Roads Safe for Biking and Walking?

New Hampshire has a unique opportunity to make roads going through our communities to be safe for all. By adopting a "Complete Streets" policy, the NH Department of Transportation can help us all be a little more physically active. And that is good for the health of Granite Staters! You may be asking "What is a Complete Streets policy?" Its a policy whereby federally funded road construction or reconstruction would be planned and built so that they are safe and convenient for all users and all modes of transportation, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Let's make our community parks, playgrounds, and roadways to get to them, more accessible for hearthealthy lifestyles. Visit http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets/ to learn more about the Complete Streets initiative.

 

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You Can Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Despite New Hampshire being rated one of the healthiest states in the country, we are battling our own obesity epidemic. The rate of overweight and obesity in our adult population is about 60%. And perhaps more startling, almost a third of NH children are also overweight. The American Heart Association knows obesity is a complex issue, both its causes and its remedies, and will require a multi-pronged approach to solve the problem. Won’t you join the AHA’s movement to learn how you can help advocate for healthier environments for our children? Visit www.preventobesity.net to see how we can improve nutrition and physical activity opportunities in our schools and communities.

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Teaching Gardens = Learning Laboratories for Kids

Studies show that when kids grow their own fruits and vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them. That’s the idea behind the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens.  While 1/3 of American children are classified as overweight or obese, AHA Teaching Gardens is fighting this unhealthy trend by giving children access to healthy fruits and vegetables and instilling a life time appreciation for healthy foods.

Aimed at first through fifth graders, we teach children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits. Garden-themed lessons teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands.

Over 270 gardens are currently in use nationwide reaching and teaching thousands of students, with more gardens being added every day.  You can find an American Heart Association Teaching Garden in your area here or email teachinggardens@heart.org to find how you can get involved.

               

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One Million Milestone

Did you hear the big news?  We’ve reached an amazing milestone in our campaign to teach all students to be ‘CPR Smart’!  17 states now require CPR training as a graduation requirement, which adds up to over one million annual graduates who are prepared to save a life.  Congratulations to all of the You’re the Cure advocates and community partners who have spoken-up for training our next generation of life-savers.   

But with every advocacy celebration comes a new call to action.  33 states still need to pass legislation to make CPR a graduation requirement and you can help us get there!  Here are a couple simple things you can do right now to get the word out:

1) Watch Miss Teen International Haley Pontius share how a bad day can be turned into a day to remember when students know CPR.  And don’t forget to share this PSA on social media with the hashtag #CPRinSchools!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

2) Do you live in one of the 33 states that have not made CPR a graduation requirement yet?  Take our Be CPR Smart pledge to show your support and join the movement.  We’ll keep you updated on the progress being made in your state. 


 

 

We hope you’ll help keep the momentum going as we support many states working to pass this legislation into 2015.  Several states have already had success in securing funding for CPR training in schools, but now need to push for the legislature to pass the graduation requirement and in Illinois, the Governor recently signed legislation that requires schools to offer CPR & AED training to students. 

Bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates when given right away and with 424,000 people suffering out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, this law is critical to helping save lives.  Thank you for being part of our movement to train the next generation of life-savers!


PS- Inspired to be CPR smart too?  Take 60 seconds to learn how to save a life with Hands-Only CPR.

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A Major Milestone for CPR in Schools

As of the end of May, 16 states have passed policies requiring CPR training for all students prior to graduation from high school. And even more exciting, this means 1 million students will graduate annually as trained lifesavers for their communities!  However, New Hampshire is not one of those states yet. Please join me in helping get this policy passed in NH. Click on www.becprsmart.org to read more about the campaign the American Heart Association has launched to make this a reality for every state, including New Hampshire.

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Take Control of Your Health

Did you know high blood pressure has also been called the “silent killer”? That’s because its symptoms are not always obvious, making the need for regular check-ups important.  As we recognize High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, here are the facts:

• High blood pressure (aka: hypertension) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

• It’s the leading risk factor of women’s deaths in the U.S., and the second leading risk factor for death for men.

• One-third of American adults have high blood pressure. And 90 percent of American adults are expected to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes.

• More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic black adults have high blood pressure. Not only is high blood pressure more prevalent in blacks than whites, but it also develops earlier in life.
 
• Despite popular belief, teens, children and even babies can have high blood pressure. As with adults, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce or prevent the harmful consequences of this disease.

Now that you know the facts, what can you do to take control? The answer is a “lifestyle prescription” that can prevent and manage high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle includes exercise, stress management, and eating a healthy diet, especially by reducing the sodium you eat. To learn more about taking control of you blood pressure, be sure to visit our online toolkit!

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Spring Heart Walkers Advocate for Heart Health Policies

This is always my favorite time of the year!  The snow and cold is (mostly) melted away and behind us.  The birds are singing in the morning as I wake up.  The tender buds of Spring foliage are beginning to pop open.  And the New England landscape is inviting us to engage in outdoor activities.  Plus it means Heart Walk season in New Hampshire!  Yes, and we have two Walks planned this Spring, each providing an opportunity for You’re The Cure advocates to take action on priority policy issues.  The new Seacoast Walk is set for Saturday May 31 and the Manchester event is on Saturday June 7.   In addition to raising critical dollars for the American Heart Association’s mission, we will be engaging our Walkers in advocating for important public policies to help NH residents live heart healthy and stroke free!  The NH Advocacy Committee is seeking several volunteers to attend the walks and help with our advocacy activity.  We will ask participants to pose for a picture holding a message important for them to share with their lawmakers.  Can you spare a few hours to volunteer at either the Seacoast or Manchester Heart Walks to help snap pictures of advocates in action?!

Seacoast Walk:

http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/eventdetails.aspx?EventId=167

Manchester Walk:

http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/eventdetails.aspx?EventId=168

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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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New Hampshire's Lawmakers Pass Expanded Healthcare Coverage

New Hampshire has passed a bipartisan plan to get thousands covered by health insurance! One component of the federal law to increase access to healthcare coverage for currently uninsured adults is the expansion of NH's population eligible for coverage under the Medicaid program. In March the NH House and Senate passed the NH Health Protection Plan to allow almost 50,000 Granite Staters to receive healthcare coverage under the Medicaid Managed Care program. The Bill was signed into law the last week of March by Governor Hassan. The American Heart Association knows Medicaid is already an important source of health insurance coverage for patients with heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Expanding the Medicaid eligible population in NH will increase access to regular preventive care of CVD risk factors for uninsured adults.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20140327-NEWS-140329748

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