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Nashville Heart Walk, Oct. 4

Join us on Saturday, Oct. 4 for the Nashville Heart Walk at Vanderbilt University Campus, corner of Natchez Trace and Children's Way.

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's premiere event that brings communities together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against this country's No. 1 and No. 4 killers, heart diseases and stroke. Activities will begin at 8 a.m. with the actual walk starting at 10 a.m. Our Tennessee advocacy team will be there working the You're the Cure booth. Stop by and meet Bernard Reynolds, Government Relations Director, and Denise Costanza, Advocacy Assistant. While there, tell fellow walkers how easy it is to be a You're the Cure advocate and to make a difference.

We're certainly looking forward to this inspirational day filled with energy, excitement and hope! Designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living, the Heart Walk creates an environment that's fun and rewarding for the entire family. If you're the in the Nashville area, we hope to see you on Oct. 4 as we walk with friends, family, coworkers and other members of the community.

For more information about the event, visit the Nashville Heart Walk webpage.

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Mississippi Wins Again!

In August, Mississippi received national recognition for taking local action to protect citizens from the health hazards of secondhand smoke.

Americans for Non-Smokers Rights (ANR) awarded Mississippi 1st place for passing nine local smoke free laws in 2013.  Alabama and South Carolina tied for 2nd place, with Missouri, Louisiana and California all tying for 3rd place. 

 

Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of ANR, traveled to Mississippi to congratulate the first place award winners in person.  She said, "Believe it or not, this is the fourth time Smokefree Mississippi has received a Smokefree Challenge award for passing local smoke free laws.  Each time I return, I breathe a little easier knowing you are closer to protecting all workers and families in Mississippi from secondhand smoke exposure in public places and workplaces."

This makes 87 Mississippi communities with smoke free ordinances, but it only covers about 25% of the state’s population.  Despite the proven health and economic benefits, the state legislature still refuses to take action!  We will keep working hard to protect the people of our state. 




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Join us October 4th at the Oahu Heart & Stroke Walk

As you may know the Oahu Heart & Stroke Walk was originally scheduled for August 9th but as Tropical Storm Iselle was bearing down on Hawaii with heavy rains and high winds we decided to postpone the walk for the safety of our volunteers and attendees.

We have rescheduled the Oahu Heart & Stroke Walk for Saturday October 4th.

The Heart & Stroke Walk celebrates those who have made lifestyle changes and encourages many more to take the pledge to live healthier lifestyles while raising the dollars needed to fund life-saving research and initiatives in our local community.

Come walk with us Saturday, October 4th at Kapi`olani Park. The festival opens at 6:30 a.m. and the Walk kicks off at 7:30 a.m.

This free family event includes:

  • A health fair & preventative screenings
  • Kids' Zone
  • CPR training
  • FREE heart-healthy snacks & beverages!

Each year more than 3,200 people in Hawaii die from heart disease. We, the American Heart Association, want to lower that number and that is why we work to raise awareness and money for research. This event is free but donations are always welcome.

Be sure to stop by the advocacy booth and sign a postcard in support of adding CPR training in Hawaii high schools. If you are interesting in helping at the advocacy booth please click here to email Don Weisman.

We hope to see you on October 4th!

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Protecting the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

written by Violet Ruiz, Government Relations Director, Greater Los Angeles

The U.S. is in the midst of a full-blown obesity epidemic that has disproportionately affected our children. Currently, nearly one third of children are overweight or obese. The health consequences of obesity in children are staggering. Recent research shows that an obese child’s arteries can resemble those of a middle-aged adult and obese adolescents have an overwhelming chance of becoming obese adults. Students consume 35%-50% of their daily caloric intake at school, where they are often exposed to junk foods and sugary drinks that have little to no nutritional value. Schools can institute a healthy environment by promoting and proving nutritious meals. 

In 2012, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act went into effect and for the first time in generations, the national school lunch, breakfast, and competitive foods nutrition standards were updated.  We know that nutritious school foods are essential to heart health, teaching life-long healthy habits, and helping children perform better academically- and there is strong evidence that the new standards are making a difference. Yet there are some in Congress who want to turn back the clock and slow the progress in providing children healthy foods in schools. 

During the month of August, You’re the Cure Advocates made special deliveries to legislators across the county in support of healthy school meals and snacks.  Our message to Congress was that that healthy school meals ‘fit’ into a successful school day for kids- and we are ‘puzzled’ by efforts to weaken or delay the important nutrition standards. Advocates delivered over 70 puzzles, in which 4 puzzle pieces fit together to display a healthy school meal and 1 piece shows unhealthy food that doesn’t fit.

The USDA has reported that over 91% of schools are meeting the updated nutrition standards, up from just 14% of schools meeting the old standards in 2009-2010. This demonstrates that schools are willing and able to make these important changes. Experts also agree that the USDA is doing a good job in providing training and technical assistance to schools. They have been responsive to school food service feedback, adjusting guidance, and proving flexibility. Furthermore, Harvard researchers found the updated school meal(s) standards have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

Together we can take a stand and urge Congress to continue protecting healthy school meals. Kids are adjusting to the new meals and appropriate portion sizes. A healthy school environment helps improve children’s physical well-being, enhances learning, can minimize behavior problems, and increase attendance.

If you are interested in protecting healthy school nutrition standards in your community, please contact your local Government Relations Director for Volunteer opportunities. You can also call or write your local congressional legislator to take action now!

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AR Advocates Visit Congressional Offices, Promote Healthy School Meals

On Wednesday, August 13th You’re the Cure advocates Wonder Lowe and Carole Garner utilized the August Congressional break to advocate for reauthorization of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”

They visited district offices to share the message that new nutrition standards ARE working and should not be delayed or weakened. Together, they visited the offices of Senator Mark Pryor and Congressman John Boozman.

The team delivered the message to Congress that healthy school meals ‘fit’ into a successful school day for kids- and that we’re ‘puzzled’ by efforts to weaken or delay the important nutrition standards.  To help make this point, the advocates delivered a lunch bag of puzzle pieces, 4 of which fit together to display a healthy school meal and 1 showing unhealthy food that doesn’t fit. 

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NM Advocates Visit Congressional Offices, Promote Healthy School Meals

On Wednesday, August 27th You’re the Cure advocates Jim Myers and Claire Dudley utilized the August Congressional break to advocate for reauthorization of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”

They visited district offices to share the message that new nutrition standards ARE working and should not be delayed or weakened. Together, they visited the offices of Senator Martin Heinrich and Senator Tom Udall

The team delivered the message to Congress that healthy school meals ‘fit’ into a successful school day for kids- and that we’re ‘puzzled’ by efforts to weaken or delay the important nutrition standards.  To help make this point, the advocates delivered a lunch bag of puzzle pieces, 4 of which fit together to display a healthy school meal and 1 showing unhealthy food that doesn’t fit. 

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The 2014 Salt Lake City Heart & Stroke Walk & Run is Just Around the Corner

The Utah Heart and Stroke Walk & Run raises awareness and funds for the life-saving mission of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Join us as we celebrate healthy lifestyles and honor those who have fought heart disease and stroke. This year we are celebrating September 20th at Sugarhouse Park.

But we need your help! Bring your energy, your passion and your stories. There are lots of ways to get involved:

 

  • Register your Community Team! There’s still time to recruit friends and family to walk with you and raise money for a great cause. Get started today!
  • Volunteer at the event! Dozens of volunteers are needed each year to set-up, cheer on walkers, and hand out water.

While you’re there, please don’t forget to stop by the Advocacy booth to sign a postcard in support of life-saving legislation.

If you have questions about any of our event volunteer opportunities, please contact the Heart and Stroke Walk & Run 5k Team at (801) 702-4420 or email Amelia O’Neill at Amelia.oneill@heart.org.

This year’s walk promises to be an inspiring and exciting event.  We hope you’ll join us!

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Back to School - Join Us As We Advocate for Healthy Policies for Our Children

written by Marc Watterson, Government Relations Director, Utah

Like many of you, I look forward to the fall season! Truth be told I’m not a huge fan of the heat and I have always loved Utah’s cooler fall climate. Fall brings with it many wonderful things – the excitement of professional, college, and high school football, little-league soccer, shopping sales, and the beginning of a new school year.

This year was a completely new one for me as a parent as our oldest daughter began kindergarten! It was a bittersweet moment as we helped her get ready that first morning and watched her board the bus for her first day of school. Her excitement was contagious as she anxiously got to her seat and began waving to us through the school bus window. We continued to wave as the bus pulled down the street and out of sight.

I can only imagine how many times this same scene played out across the state as many of you watched children or grandchildren leave for school.

As parents – or even relatives – to these young children, we want the very best for them. We want them to grow up in a world full of opportunities, where they can fulfill their dreams and aspirations. Whatever the situation, wherever they might be, we want to make sure that children are provided with the best, and safest, environment possible.

This became very apparent to me this past year as – like many of you – we heard tragic stories of young children who were hurt or killed on their way to and from school. The stories pull at our heartstrings as we realize how important safe routes to school are and just how fragile life can be. It is the recognition of the importance of life that fuels us as advocates for the American Heart Association. Together, we have done amazing things!

Just last year we rallied together to encourage the Department of Health to create a new recognition system that identifies those hospitals in the state who strive for the very best in patient care when it comes to treating those who suffer a stroke. Many of you joined with us at the state capitol for our annual Heart on the Hill day where we successfully lobbied our state legislators to restore funding to the CPR and AED in Schools Training Program. Because of you, every sophomore in Utah will have the chance to be trained in CPR and how to use an AED as part of their Health class! Together, we have laid the framework that will help create a generation of lifesavers for years to come!

And while it would be easy to sit back and count our victories, there is still so much more that can be done here in Utah. This year, we set our sights on improving the health of all Utahns – especially our children.

The American Heart Association|American Stroke Association is teaming up with the Utah Department of Transportation to encourage our state and local elected officials to ensure our children have a healthier, more walkable pathway to school. We are asking all of you to join us as we encourage policymakers to increase funding for the state’s Safe Routes to School program. This program provides funding for schools and local cities to come together and identify areas of need in their communities. The Safe Routes to School program helps improve sidewalks, create crosswalks, and provide signage that help to keep kids and drivers safe. The AHA|ASA supports the funding of this program because of the potential safety and health impact this could have on our children and communities – all in the goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans!

As part of our efforts we will be hosting a booth at our upcoming Heart|Stroke Walk & Run 5K. We would love to have you stop by and sign a postcard in support of the Safe Routes to School program. We will be delivering these postcards to policymakers across the state! You can also click here to volunteer to help us at the event as we work to raise awareness of this issue amongst the thousands of Heart|Stroke Walk attendees!

As parents and those concerned about the children in our community we have many things that we worry about with our children; the last thing we should have to worry about is if our children have a safe route to travel to school. Please support us as we strive to create healthier, more walkable communities throughout the state!

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AHA new policy recommendation calls for tighter controls on e-cigarettes

Guest Blogger: Don Weisman, Hawaii Government Relations Director

The American Heart Association issued new policy recommendations on August 25 on the use of e-cigarettes and their impact on tobacco-control efforts. Based on the current evidence, the Association’s position is that e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are tobacco products and should be subject to all laws that apply to these products.

The Association guidance also examines state smoke-free laws in relation to these products. While the toxic substances in e-cigarettes are lower than those in cigarette smoke, non-smokers could be involuntarily exposed to nicotine in any confined space where e-cigarettes are used. Unregulated e-cigarettes could potentially turn back the clock to the days when smoking in public was normal behavior, undoing years of work on smoke-free laws and hampering current enforcement. Given these concerns, the Association supports including e-cigarettes in these state laws, if the change can be made without weakening existing laws.

The AHA has received calls from business partners seeking guidance on e-cigarette usage in their workplace as some employee’s use of the devices at work have caused disruptions with co-workers not wanting to be exposed to the various aerosol toxins emitted by e-cigarettes. The AHA will join community partners during Hawaii’s 2015 State Legislative Session to work to incorporate e-cigarettes into Hawaii’s smoke-free air law. Watch for advocacy updates on this issue and your opportunity to support efforts to continue to protect public health in work and other public places.

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Waxahachie Goes Smoke-Free!

On August 18th the City of Waxahachie passed a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance by a 4-1 vote.  The smoke-free ordinance will remove harmful secondhand smoke from all public workplaces including restaurants and bars and makes Waxahachie the 39th Smoke-Free City in Texas!

The new law will go into effect on September 18th.  American Heart Association volunteers and staff worked over the past few months to engage the public and City Council on smoke-free workplaces.  Their hard work resulted in numerous visits with Council members, public testimony and Council meetings and hundreds of postcard and photo petitions delivered to City Hall. 

Over 200 people were represented in 60 pages of photo petitions throughout the community posing with “I Support a Smoke-Free Community” posters.  Over 140 new You’re the Cure volunteers were recruited, and we presented over 56 smoke-free cards on the night of the vote.

Let us know what city you want to be the next to go Smoke-Free in Texas!

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