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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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Small Group Makes Big Impact at the Ohio Statehouse!

On March 25th, a small, but mighty, group of fantastic You're the Cure advocates gathered at the statehouse to meet with legislators in support of CPR training for Ohio's high school students.

More than 80% of sudden cardiac arrests occur at home so training our young adults in this lifesaving skill can potentially save thousands of lives--and takes less than one class period! Want to raise your voice in support CPR training for our high schools students and help graduate a new generation of lifesavers into our communities? Visit www.becprsmart.org today!

 

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Will Freeman, Kentucky

Will Freeman Kentucky

When his younger brother's friend nearly died at a birthday party, Will Freeman decided to take action--by teaching hands-only CPR to his peers at Henry Clay High School. In addition to recently training his entire class of over 500 students, the Lexington, Kentucky, senior has been working closely with the American Heart Association throughout the 2014 Legislative Session to gain support for a bill that would ensure all high school students in the state learn CPR before they graduate.

Read more about Will's efforts and how you can help create a new generation of lifesavers in your state by supporting CPR training for all high school students!

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Ohio Advocacy Day: Did You Make Your Voice Heard?

Yesterday, dozens of fantastic You're the Cure advocates decked in red joined us at the Statehouse to meet face to face with their lawmakers for Ohio Advocacy Day. What were they talking about? Shared Use, Stroke Care and Quality PE Class. Even if you couldn't join us, you can still make your voice heard!

Studies show that people who have parks or recreational facilities nearby exercise 38 percent more than those who don't have easy access. Unfortunately safe places to get physical activity aren’t always available—but they could be. Schools are present in nearly every Ohio community and can offer a variety of safe, clean facilities, including running tracks, pools, gymnasiums, fitness rooms, and playgrounds. Unfortunately, schools that might like to offer these facilities to their communities often close their property to the public after school hours due to concerns about liability. Shared use legislation would not mandate that schools open their facilities after hours, but would simply alleviate concerns around liability for those that would like to provide access to the surrounding community. 

When a loved one suffers a stroke, time lost is brain lost. Time is critical in treating stroke, but in far too many cases a fragmented and disorganized delivery system prohibits Ohio's stroke victims from getting the care they need before it's too late. The good news is that the time is finally here for legislation that would improve care for our stroke victims--saving lives and reducing long-term disability for Ohioans. Even if you aren't a medical professional, YOU have the power to ensure Ohio's stroke victims receive appropriate, timely care and the best chance for a full recovery. Send your message today asking your lawmakers to support quick passage of Ohio's stroke legislation!

Did you know that the physical education class today's Ohio students experience is much better than what we had as children? In fact, since 2007, Ohio has taken steps to improve the quality of physical education class so that our kids have information and experience to make healthy choices throughout their lives. Students do not learn these lifelong skills in extracurricular athletics, band or cheerleading, but through a quality physical education program that improves their overall health, increases school performance and reduces behavioral issues. Please send your message now, asking Ohio's lawmakers to support removal of physical education waivers to give all students the opportunity to experience quality physical education.

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Advocate Spotlight: Kathy Minx and Al Lessie

Kathy Minx and Al Lessie

My husband, Al, has very high cholesterol - around 450! It is from his mother's side of the family and no one on that side of the family lived past age 50. He had already had a major heart attack at age 31 and had open heart surgery at that time. He was actually one of the first to receive that surgery and the doctors told him he only had three years to live - they had never seen someone that young needing open heart surgery.

I knew he could have another heart attack but how do you prepare for that? He was in shape, had regular treadmill tests at his doctor's office and was receiving a clean bill of health. We decided to train for a 26-mile half marathon and we both ran the course in under two hours.

About one month after the race, we played 18 holes of golf and we walked the course (about 7 miles) as usual. We had a great evening, came home to fix dinner and relax. All of a sudden, my husband hit the floor and turned blue in the face. I was panicking but knew enough to call 911 first. I had been a lifeguard 25 years earlier and remembered my CPR training. I rolled him over and started breathing into his mouth and providing chest compressions. The ambulance arrived and gave him electric shock 5 times - the EMT told me he was so sorry for my loss. On the 6th time, he came back to life but had been unconscious for 9 minutes.

We rushed to the hospital and he was in a coma for four days. When he woke up, the doctor told me that the only reason he was alive was because I started CPR. Another man was brought in the same evening and was out for 9 minutes but did not have CPR. His outcome wasn't so good.

I am so thankful I had that training and have kept up my certification every two years.

By the way, my husband just turned 65 and has not had another incident. We showed that doctor who told him he only had 3 years!

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March is National Nutrition Month--What Steps Will You Take to Eat Healthier?

March is National Nutrition Month and what better time to make these simple steps to eating healthier part of your daily routine? It's easier than you think!

Want to learn more? Visit our Nutrition Center for even more ways to incorporate healthy eating into your life!

 

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Big Changes in Store for Food Labels

After more than two decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing sweeping changes to the nutrition labels on packaged foods.

The proposals would require food manufacturers to list added sugars, nutrition counts for more-realistic portion sizes and total nutrition information for multiple servings of food within a single package.  The government also wants to require potassium and vitamin D to be listed.

The changes are being released on Thursday during a critical time in the U.S. A third of all adults in the nation are obese, increasing the risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Another third of Americans are overweight.

“Eating healthy is a habit all Americans need to have and the FDA’s new nutrition labels will help put that goal within reach,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said. “By arming consumers with more knowledge about nutritional content, calories and serving sizes, the new labeling information proposed by the FDA takes an important step toward improving the health of all Americans.”

Despite the recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that obesity has declined by 43 percent for children ages 2 to 5, it has not changed significantly for adults or the larger pool of kids ages 2 to 19.

Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. And obesity in children is causing a health problems that used to be seen only in adults, like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

Changes to nutrition labels will take time. The FDA will collect comments for 90 days on its proposed new rules from food manufacturers, the general public and nutrition and health advocates. It will consider clarifications or changes based on the comments, then give food manufacturers time to reprint their labels and replace existing inventory.

“These new labels will empower consumers with a valuable source of nutrition information, and the American Heart Association commends the FDA for proposing these changes,” Brown said.

Proposed changes include:

Added sugars: for the first time, added sugars will be on the nutrition facts panel. Previously, naturally-occurring and added sugars were combined into a single listing of “total sugars.” This will allow consumers to know how much sugar has been added by the manufacturer. The AHA recommends that women consume a maximum of 100 calories a day from added sugars, or 25 grams, and men consume 150 calories a day, or 37.5 grams.

“The addition of added sugars to the Nutrition Facts Panel is a giant step forward,” said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., chair of the AHA’s nutrition committee and professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “High intakes of added sugars are associated with many risk factors for heart disease including obesity, high blood pressure, inflammation and elevated triglyceride levels. A recent study demonstrated an association between high intakes of added sugars and death from cardiovascular disease. Consumers want to know how much sugar has been added during the processing or preparation of foods so they can make wise decisions about the foods they eat.”

Serving sizes: Adjusted for 17 categories of foods to better reflect what people are actually consuming. For example, ice cream will go from ½ cup to 1 cup; muffins and bagels will go from ½ to 1; and beverages will go from 8 ounces to 12 oz. This gives people a more realistic idea of what they’re actually consuming in a single sitting, so they can better monitor what they’re eating and make healthier choices.

Sodium: This will be adjusted slightly to reflect a 2,300 milligram daily value, which is the maximum amount per day recommended in the dietary guidelines for someone consuming a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet. The American Heart Association recommends that the ideal sodium consumption, especially for people trying to lower their blood pressure, is 1,500 mg. per day.  “There is strong scientific evidence that indicates lowering sodium reduction can result in significant reductions in blood pressure,” Brown said. ”Therefore, the association will continue to recommend sodium intake to be limited to 1,500 milligrams a day. We intend to work with the FDA, during this 90-day comment period and beyond if need be, to highlight the increased benefits from further sodium reductions and to advocate for stronger action.”

Package size: Like serving sizes, package sizes will be labeled more accurately. So a large muffin or bottle of soda will have nutrition information for the entire package.

Per serving and per package: If a package has 2-4 servings in it, the label will be required to show nutrition information per serving and per package. This helps make it clear when the package has multiple servings inside.

Calories bigger and bolder: Although the format of the label won’t change dramatically, calories and serving sizes will be emphasized with a bigger and bolder font. This may help people make healthier choices by knowing what they’re consuming.

Nutrient listings: The amount of potassium and vitamin D will now be required, calcium and iron will remain and vitamins A and C will be optional. When the nutrition label was last updated 20 years ago, health officials were more concerned about people getting enough of vitamins A and C, but attention now is on potassium and D.

Want to help inform friends & family about these changes?  Share this graphic on Facebook.





















For more information:

FDA announcement

AHA CEO Nancy Brown's Statement

Understanding food nutrition labels

American Heart Association Nutrition Center 

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Ohio Legislators Go Red!

As part of American Heart Month, the first Friday of February is designated Wear Red Day.  It is a chance to raise awareness on the risk of heart disease.  In fact, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women – killing more women than all forms of cancer combined. Most women don’t notice the symptoms of heart disease until it’s too late, which is why heart disease has been called the silent killer.

Again this year, Ohio legislators joined together for a photo shoot on one of our snow filled days.  They will be sharing information through their constituent communications and meetings through the month.  Click on the picture to see more photos on our Facebook page!

         

You can join them!  Make sure you have your red on today and throughout the month.  You can also visit our Action Center to learn about policy efforts to improve heart health.

 “What it means to Go Red":

  • Get Your Numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Own Your Lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise and eat healthy.
  • Realize Your Risk: We think it won’t happen to us, but heart disease kills 1 in 3 women.
  • Educate Your Family: Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach your kids the importance of staying active.
  • Don’t be silent: Tell every woman you know that heart disease is our No. 1 killer. Raise your voice at GoRedForWomen.org.

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Ohio Legislators Go Red Again!

As part of American Heart Month, the first Friday of February is designated Wear Red Day.  It is a chance to raise awareness on the risk of heart disease.  In fact, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women – killing more women than all forms of cancer combined. Most women don’t notice the symptoms of heart disease until it’s too late, which is why heart disease has been called the silent killer.

Again this year, Ohio legislators joined together for a photo shoot on one of our snow filled days.  They will be sharing information through their constituent communications and meetings through the month.  Click on the picture to see more photos on our Facebook page!

         

You can join them!  Make sure you have your red on today and throughout the month.  You can also visit our Action Center to learn about policy efforts to improve heart health.

 “What it means to Go Red":

  • Get Your Numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Own Your Lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise and eat healthy.
  • Realize Your Risk: We think it won’t happen to us, but heart disease kills 1 in 3 women.
  • Educate Your Family: Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach your kids the importance of staying active.
  • Don’t be silent: Tell every woman you know that heart disease is our No. 1 killer. Raise your voice at GoRedForWomen.org.

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Taking Action During the Winter Wonderland

On Sunday, Buckeye Chuck predicted an early spring.  Although, it seems like that will wait until at least next week!

However, you can still help advocate for heart healthy policies, right from your house!  Visit the You're the Cure Action Center and check out the great issues we are working on to make Ohio and our local communities healthier.  In fact, as our legislators are stuck at home, too, this is the perfect time to send them a few messages on these key issues.

Stay warm and happy clicking!

 

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