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Illinois Schools Observe New Law Requiring CPR, AED Training

Check out the article below from the Kane County Chronicle putting Lauren's Law into action. (Photo credit - Sandy Bressner, Shaw Media)

George Laman, whose teenage daughter died six years ago after collapsing during a drill team practice at St. Charles North High School, hopes that a new, potentially lifesaving law she inspired is taken seriously by teachers and students.

"If you have an emergency situation, you don’t have time to think," the Campton Hills resident said. "If you pay attention, you have a much better chance of being successful."

Gov. Pat Quinn last month signed the Lauren Laman Bill into law, requiring all students in Illinois high schools to learn how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and to administer CPR. Continue reading here.

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Farm to Childcare Program Introduced in MN

Check out this article from the Public News Service - MN, talking about how statewide childcare centers are starting to introduce healthy habits and fresh foods to young children. (photo courtesy of New Horizon Academy)

ST. PAUL, Minn. – An effort to get more fresh, healthy and local foods on the plates of children in day care is now ready to roll out across Minnesota.

The development of the Farm to Childcare curriculum was led by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Erin McKee VanSlooten, senior program associate of the institute’s Farm to Institution, says after a two-year pilot project, the curriculum has just been released for use statewide. Continue reading here

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Key to Kids Eating Healthier; Make it Affordable

With the youth obesity crisis in our country, many efforts have been made to encourage our young people to eat healthier - less sugar, fewer empty calories, more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc.  But one of the biggest challenges in this effort is the cost.  Preparing and consuming a healthier diet can be more expensive.  The Sioux Falls School District is meeting that challenge head-on.  In an effort to encourage consumption of healthier foods, the Sioux Falls School District is piloting a morning healthy snacks program this fall at its high schools as part of its work to improve the health and wellness of the children it serves. For more on this story, CLICK HERE.  

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Georgia Proposes New School Nutrition Rules

The Georgia State Board of Education’s proposal of 30 exemptions from the USDA’s nutrition guidelines for in-school, on-campus food fundraising is concerning.  In 2007, Georgia ranked 2nd in childhood obesity. Today, it ranks 17th. Continuing to thwart efforts to make food choices healthy for children only sets us up to reverse the improvements we’ve made.  Even with the USDA’s provision allowing states to choose the cap on food fundraisers per year, half have chosen zero, including NC, SC, MS, KY and AR.  Moreover, Alabama’s school nutrition standards are already stricter than the USDA’s guidelines. Georgia’s are among the nation’s weakest. The suggested changes allowing 30 fundraisers – each of which can last up to 3 days  -- ultimately allow our children to purchase unhealthy food without parental input for 90 days. That’s half the school year.  The Department of Education and Board of Education acknowledge the childhood obesity problem, but offer no solution.  The most obvious remedy is to model other Georgia schools that have increased their revenue through non-food fundraising and not depended on donuts and candy bars. We will continue to educate the Board of Education on the importance of healthy food selections in schools and profitable alternatives to food fundraising.

For more information about the American Heart Association's position, please visit http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/issuedetails.aspx?IssueId=Obesity and select the article entitled Nutrition in Schools.

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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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Advocate Testifies about the Personal Toll of Chronic Diseases

You're the Cure advocate Stephanie Dempsey of Blairsville, Georgia, testified Tuesday in Washington about the impact of chronic disease.

The hearing was to begin a conversation on chronic care, according to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden, D- Oregon.

Dempsey, age 44, said she has suffered from multiple chronic conditions for most of her life.  She has coronary artery disease, lupus, a seizure disorder and arthritis. She told the committee that her chronic conditions have led to a loss of independence, financial security and family.

“I have always considered myself a middle class American. I had a well-paying job. I owned my own home and was happily married,” Dempsey said.  “Unfortunately, this is not the case today.”

Dempsey was diagnosed with hereditary coronary artery disease at age 21, which has affected all the women in her family. Her only sister died from it at 28.  At age 48, her mother had quadruple bypass surgery.  Dempsey herself had quadruple bypass surgery at 30 and since then has had another bypass surgery and received 27 stents.

She takes 19 medications a day, in addition to doctor-recommended supplements.

Due to her debilitating conditions, she lost her job and her home.  Fighting tears, Dempsey said that the strain caused by her chronic health conditions also ruined her marriage and that she had no choice but to move in with her parents, who take care of her. Her specialists are more than two hours away and due to her seizure disorder, she is unable to drive and her parents must take her to appointments.

The lack of coordination between her specialists caused one to prescribe a medication for lupus that can cause seizures.  He did not remember that she had a seizure disorder.  It took several days and “much persistence” to adjust her treatment.

Dempsey said she’s her own healthcare coordinator.  “Although I consider myself an educated person, navigating this maze is very difficult and very exhausting. But it is my life at stake, so I have no choice except to remain engaged,” she said.

It took two years, but she is now covered by Medicare. Yet, she said she still struggles to pay her medical bills.

Despite her struggles, Dempsey said she felt fortunate to be at the hearing to present her testimony.

“I am confident that you will not forget me and countless other people when you develop policies that will help all of us,” Dempsey said. “Our goals are all the same – to live long, healthy and productive lives.”

Sen. Wyden said at the end of the hearing that it was overwhelming to hear Dempsey’s story.

“My own judgment is that chronic disease has really gotten short shrift in the big debates. I don’t think it happened deliberately,” said Wyden. “What you heard today from Senators again on both sides of the aisle is that those days are over — when chronic diseases get short shrift.”

For more information:

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New York City Tackles Obesity!

Did you see the news?  New York City recently announced that they've achieved a significant drop in the rate of severe obesity among our city's kids.  A nearly 10% decline of this leading cause of heart disease and stroke is a tremendous achievement!  However, the thing I liked most about this announcement (linked below), is the city's eye to the future.  It's right there in Commissioner's Bassett top quote.  More needs to be done.  Chancellor Farina's quote is an important one as well.  If health and wellness are truly top priorities for this administration - let's work together to pass laws that will serve to protect more kids from the dangers of inactivity and poor nutrition!

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2014/pr019-14.shtml

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