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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:  http://allianceforahealthiervt.org/.

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Smoking Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia

We've known for years of the increased health risks caused by smoking and tobacco-related products.  A new study now links smoking with an increased risk of dementia.  The World Health Organization (WHO) and Alzheimer’s Disease International are reporting, based on a review of scientific studies, that smokers have a 45 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to non-smokers.  

Tobacco use is the world’s number one cause of preventable death, killing about six million people worldwide each year.  Without strong action, tobacco use is projected to kill one billion people worldwide this century.  The links between smoking and dementia reinforce the urgent need to address this global epidemic. For more on this story, CLICK HERE.   

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AHA Looks at Healthy Food Financing Initiatives in Florida

The crunch of a celery stalk. The crisp sweetness of a red bell pepper. The warmth of a freshly baked loaf of bread. We don’t just eat healthy food because we know it’s good for us — we eat it because it makes us feel good too.

But for 29.7 million people living in the United States, enjoying healthy food is difficult at best and impossible at worst. That’s because they live in “food deserts,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s term for areas without easy access to grocery stores. And although the term “desert” conjures up faraway places, food deserts are all over America: in cities and in rural areas, from coast to coast.

Not having a local grocery store can have far-ranging impacts on people’s lives. Families who live in communities where they can’t find a bag of apples or a head of lettuce are at greater risk of becoming overweight and obese. Studies show that the closer we are to neighborhood supermarkets, the more likely we are to have healthier lives and lower body weight too.

We can’t sit back while tens of millions of people in America lack access to the kinds of foods that keep us all healthy. Now is the time for families, community leaders, health advocates, business owners and elected officials to come together and find ways to improve access to healthy, affordable foods.

Right now, in many places across the country, public-private partnerships that support healthy food financing initiatives are working to bring full-service grocery stores or supermarkets into the communities that need them most. These efforts are addressing the immediate need for quality produce, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean meats and other nutritious foods, and they’re helping evaluate just how food access impacts the future for our children and our communities.

The American Heart Association will work to bring Healthy Food Financing Initiatives across the State of Florida. Please make sure to check your inbox for You’re the Cure alerts regarding more information on this topic and others.

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School Nutrition: Help to Solve the Nutrition Puzzle

Congress is working on appropriations bills and school nutrition standards have been a hot topic in the agriculture appropriations debate.  The House bill would allow schools to get waivers from these standards and the Senate bill would delay the sodium standards supported by the AHA.  Other amendments of concern to health advocates have also been discussed.  Thanks to AHA advocate interest and activation, in coordination with our larger coalition, we have been able to turn the debate around on this issue and ensure Members were hearing all sides on this important issue. Given differences on this issue and others, as well as the leadership shake-up in the House, it is looking less likely that Congress will pass an agriculture appropriations bill this year, and will instead aim to pass a continuing resolution.

Given what’s happening (or not happening) with appropriations, we will now shift our attention to a long-term strategy.  Next year, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is up for reauthorization, which means many of the same battles we fought over the last couple months will emerge again.  That’s why it’s critical that we continue to stress to Congress that the nutrition standards should not be delayed or weakened.  

How can you help?  During the August recess, we will continue the drum beat on this issue, and we have an exciting drop-by activity for the recess break.  Our message to Congress is 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 our advocates deliver that message, we’ve created puzzle pieces, 4 of which fit together to display a healthy school meal and 1 showing unhealthy food that doesn’t fit.  Each puzzle piece contains a fact on the back.  We’re asking for your help to deliver these puzzle pieces to the district offices of targeted Members next month.  

If school nutrition is an important issue to you, and you are concerned about obesity prevention, especially among our youth, then we need your help!  Please email Pamela Miller and volunteer to do a drop-by visit at one of our federal district offices.  Drop-by visits are a great way to earn You're the Cure points, as well as engage our federal lawmakers on issues important right here in our state.  We will provide you with the puzzle pieces and a few talking points to assist you in your visit.  Better yet - bring a child along with you and encourage their involvement on an issue that affects them directly!  

August recess is the perfect time to talk with our lawmakers about heart-health issues - and school nutrition is on the top of the list! Email Pamela Miller today and volunteer to help put school nutrition puzzle together!  

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North Dakota Mission: Lifeline Results Published and Presented at National Conferences

The North Dakota Mission: Lifeline project was selected to present at two national conferences in June, 2014.

Statewide Collaboration in Rural STEMI System Development in Resource Limited Environments- Where You Live Shouldn't Determine If You Live: North Dakota Mission: Lifeline” with authors, Thomas Haldis, DO, Jeffrey Sather, MD, Karthik Reddy, MD, Robert Oatfield, MD, Yassar Almanaseer, MD, Rabeea Aboufakher, MD, Mindy Cook RN BSN, Pamela Moe, RN BA  was published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes and poster presentation at QCOR.  

Mission: Lifeline is a strategic initiative to save lives and reduce disability by improving emergency readiness and response to heart attack patients. Heart disease is the number one killer in North Dakota and nationally.  A statewide initiative was implemented for pre-hospital recognition, education, triage, and treatment of STEMI patients to the most appropriate reperfusion strategy.  Results released in the abstract had marked improvements in several measures in ND aggregate data from Quarter 3 2012 to Quarter 3 2013.

  • The ND Mission: Lifeline composite score 93% (557/ 596) to 97% (471/482)
  • 1ST EKG obtained Pre-hospital 46% (56/122) to 76% (92/121)
  • ED Arrival to First In-Hosp ECG % within 10 minutes 66.% (81/122) to 84% (103/122)
  • Arrival to Primary PCI <= 90 min. from 86% (32/37) to 100% (43/43)

To read more on this presentation, CLICK HERE.  

A poster presentation at the Society for Chest Pain Conference titled: "Improving Rural STEMI Care through Multi-State Sharing and Collaboration" was authored by: Jeffrey Sather, MD Trinity Health, Tomasz Stys, MD Sanford Health, Richard Mullvain, RPH, BCPS Essentia Health, Gary Myers, MS, NREMT, Mindy Cook, RN, BSN, Pam Moe, RN, CPHQ, Michelle Gardner, MBA, American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate.  To view this presentation, CLICK HERE.  

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Serving Healthy Food in Schools Shouldn't Be a Puzzle

Congress is working on appropriations bills and school nutrition standards have been a hot topic in the agriculture appropriations debate.  The House bill would allow schools to get waivers from these standards and the Senate bill would delay the sodium standards supported by the AHA.  Other amendments of concern to health advocates have also been discussed.  Thanks to AHA advocate interest and activation, in coordination with our larger coalition, we have been able to turn the debate around on this issue and ensure Members were hearing all sides on this important issue. Given differences on this issue and others, as well as the leadership shake-up in the House, it is looking less likely that Congress will pass an agriculture appropriations bill this year, and will instead aim to pass a continuing resolution.

Given what’s happening (or not happening) with appropriations, we will now shift our attention to a long-term strategy.  Next year, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is up for reauthorization, which means many of the same battles we fought over the last couple months will emerge again.  That’s why it’s critical that we continue to stress to Congress that the nutrition standards should not be delayed or weakened.  

How can you help?  During the August recess, we will continue the drum beat on this issue, and we have an exciting drop-by activity for the recess break.  Our message to Congress is 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 our advocates deliver that message, we’ve created puzzle pieces, 4 of which fit together to display a healthy school meal and 1 showing unhealthy food that doesn’t fit.  Each puzzle piece contains a fact on the back.  We’re asking for your help to deliver these puzzle pieces to the district offices of targeted Members next month.  

If school nutrition is an important issue to you, and you are concerned about obesity prevention, especially among our youth, then we need your help!  Please email Pamela Miller and volunteer to do a drop-by visit at one of our federal district offices.  Drop-by visits are a great way to earn You're the Cure points, as well as engage our federal lawmakers on issues important right here in North Dakota.  We will provide you with the puzzle pieces and a few talking points to assist you in your visit.  Better yet - bring a child along with you and encourage their involvement on an issue that affects them directly!  

August recess is the perfect time to talk with our lawmakers about heart-health issues - and school nutrition is on the top of the list! Email Pamela Miller today and volunteer to help put school nutrition puzzle together!  

 

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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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The Oahu Heart and Stroke Walk is just around the corner

The Oahu Heart and Stroke Walk is just around the corner. 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, August 9th 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!

 Create a Community Team!  Each year more than 3,200 people in Hawaii die from heart disease. There’s still time to recruit friends and family to walk with you and raise money for a great cause.

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 August 9th!

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Safe Routes to Schools: Let’s give every kid a healthy future

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

This year, Metro Council will decide on critical funding that could give every kid a chance at a healthier future through Safe Routes to School programs. (The Metro Area covers Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties in NW Oregon.) 

A Dangerous Trend for Oregon’s Kids

Our kids are getting less exercise than any previous generation. This is a major factor to one in three kids in the U.S. being overweight or obese, and it’s leading to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension—and eventually early death. Something as simple as walking to school every day isn’t an option for many families in the Metro area. Too many communities lack safe sidewalks, bikeways and crosswalks. Our kids who most need opportunities for physical activity often don’t have safe routes for walking or biking to school.

Healthier Kids, Safer Communities

Kids that can safely walk and bike to their neighborhood school get regular physical activity and do better in school. To ensure that’s an option for all families, Safe Routes to School programs make streets and crossings within the mile-radius of schools safer; empower communities to take charge of their own health and safety with bike and pedestrian safety education; and create communities of families walking and biking together through fun, school-based events.

Safe Routes to Schools Works

Some Metro area schools have received funding since 2006 for robust Safe Routes to School programs. Schools with well-supported programs have seen walking and biking to school quadruple in one year. We can and should do more to ensure every kid in the Metro area has a chance at a healthy future. Over 60,000 kids in the Metro area could be walking and biking to school after just one year of a robust regional Safe Routes to School program.

Every School District in the Metro Region

When it is safe, convenient and fun to walk to school, our children are healthier, our streets are safer for everyone, and our communities thrive. Safe Routes to School programs could bring every community in the Metro Region:

-          Healthier kids ready to learn

-          Safer neighborhood streets for all residents

-          Kids equipped with crucial bike and pedestrian safety education

-          Thriving neighborhoods that foster community

-          Opportunities for physical activity for kids who need it most

This year, Metro Council will decide on critical funding that could give 150,000 kids a chance at a healthier future. If you live in Multnomah, Clackamas, or Washington counties, we’ll be asking you to join us in urging regional leaders to fund Safe Routes to School programs at every school district in the Metro Area.

Updates and opportunities to take action to come throughout the summer and fall. If you’re interested in helping sooner, please email Sarah.Higginbotham@heart.org.

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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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