American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Meet Hailey!

Hello Everyone! My name is Hailey Clements and since I am (fairly) new to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the You’re the Cure community, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself!

I am a native of Boise, Idaho, but unfortunately, I did not grow up on a potato farm. Before moving to Washington, DC to work at the AHA, I studied Health Promotion & Education at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.  Having worked as an intern for the AHA’s Government Relations team in the Federal Advocacy office as well as with the Policy Research team, I have come to gain so much respect and love for the AHA, advocacy issues, and for the role that advocates like you play! Now, as the Project Coordinator for Federal Grassroots Advocacy, I actively work on issues that interest you as advocates—interests such as improving care and treatment of Stroke patients and survivors, promoting access to quality healthcare, and nutrition issues that will help improve the heart health of future generations.

I have always had a passion for health, but I feel so fortunate to work with You’re the Cure volunteers like you that so actively participate in improving your community, state, and country’s health. You all motivate me every day to do my very best. You’re the Cure advocates are why I do what I do every day. Thank you for all that you do and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Why All Students Should Learn CPR

Imagine you have just learned how to do CPR in your health class, and while out shopping, you find out someone nearby - a baby - needs this life-saving skill?  Imagine that you are the one who knows what to do to help the baby's life.  That a happened to a brave teenager.  She knew what to do.  She knew how to save a life.  

(Please visit the site to view this file)

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Making Kids' Meals Healthy

Demand for healthful kids’ meals at restaurants is growing. There is a great need for options for kids that are not only healthy but also flavorful, fun and interesting.   Research shows that the aggressive marketing and  advertising of high-calorie, unhealthy foods to children are contributing to today’s childhood obesity epidemic. Currently, almost one-third of children in the U.S. are obese or overweight.

The American Heart Association believes that educated consumers, armed with the right nutrition information, can make healthier choices when they are eating out. Better menu labeling can also inspire restaurant industry innovation. While the Nutrition Facts Label on packaged foods has been available since 1994, the same details are not provided on most restaurant menus, menu boards, or foods sold in venues for immediate consumption, such as movie theaters, sport arenas, and grocery store delis.

The amount of money that the food industry currently spends on marketing and advertising to influence what children choose to eat is twice the amount speant a decade ago. Young children ages 12 and under are especially vulnerable to these marketing and advertising strategies.

While the food industry has made some strides in self-regulation through the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising initiative and has recently strengthened the guidelines, the vast majority of foods allowed for marketing under these standards remain unhealthy.

The American Heart Association supports policy changes that address efforts to limit the marketing and advertising of low-nutrient, high calorie foods to U.S. children:

  • Only healthy foods, such as fruit, 100% fruit juice, veggies, low-fat dairy products, and whole grain foods should be advertised and marketed to children.
  • Product placement of food brands in movies, videogames, social networking sites, and television programming geared toward children should be discouraged.
  • Toy companies and the movie industry should not be able to partner with fast food companies.
  • Advertising should include positive messages promoting good nutrition and physical activity.
  • Advertising, marketing, and brand awareness strategies used by industry should not be allowed in schools or in any educational materials theaters, sport arenas, and grocery store delis.

Restaurants should offer meal options that are less than 600 calories and focus on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while limiting unhealthful fats, salt and sugar. Putting healthy choices on the menu empowers the consumer to be able to make wise choices, and will help provide solutions to child obesity.











<Thanks to You’re the Cure advocate/Volunteer Writer Karen Wiggins for development of this article>

Photo credits:


Girl (permission obtained)

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The first school district in NYS to be recognized as CPR Smart is...
Way to go North Rose Wolcott School District! By adopting a policy to teach students CPR and AED instruction, they have now been recognized by the American Heart Association as the first CPR Smart School in New York State! To learn how your school district can become recognized as CPR Smart, contact

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Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving is about enjoying time with our family and celebrating with traditional foods we know and love. However, the holiday can impact the time we usually reserve for our healthy routines and involve meals that are not exactly made to be heart-healthy!

To keep your diet and health in check over the Thanksgiving holiday, try these ideas below, including ways to minimize stress and smart substitutions for your holiday meals.

Try healthy substitutes

We love family recipes, and these simple tricks make them better for you and your family’s heart health (without totally changing the taste).


  • Instead of butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored, no-sugar-added applesauce.
  • Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie sugar substitute.
  • Instead of whole or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or skim milk.
  • Instead of using only white flour, use half white and half whole-wheat flour.
  • Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
  • Use extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint to add flavor, instead of sugar or butter.


  • Use vegetable oils such as olive oil instead of butter (even in your mashed potatoes).
  • Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of butter and salt.
  • Use whole-grain breads and pastas instead of white.
  • Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying.
  • Instead of whole milk or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or fat-free/skim milk.

Prepare vegetables, eat a balanced meal

Now that you’ve prepared some of your Thanksgiving meal with healthy substitutes, prepare yourself a balanced plate of all your favorite holiday foods, starting with a salad and vegetables. Eating your veggies will ensure you get the nutrients you need and will help fill you up so you don’t overload on the foods your body needs less of, such as rolls, stuffing and pie.

Increase physical activity

Increase your physical activity over Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season to combat the extra calories and additional stress. Go for a family walk after each meal or gathering. Play catch with your kids. Take just 40 minutes for yourself and go to the gym to release endorphins your body needs to stay healthy.

Keep stress to a minimum

Taking care of family, cooking, cleaning—Thanksgiving can involve a lot of activities that not only keep you busy, but can also increase your level of stress. Keep stress to a minimum with stress management techniques. These can include:

  • Planning ahead to help you with time management
  • Focusing on one thing at a time
  • Taking time to relax

Get enough sleep

Part of living a heart-healthy lifestyle means getting enough sleep. Why? Because your quality of sleep can impact your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends adults get six to eight hours of sleep per night. Over the holiday, get into bed early to give yourself enough time to wind down after your day and to fall asleep faster and more soundly. Or try these tips to improve your sleep.

**This article was featured on Learn more ways to live healthy on Go Red For Women.

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National Eating Healthy Day Recognized in OKC

On November 4th the Oklahoma City Voices for Healthy Kids team attended the Oklahoma City Council meeting where we announced the signing of the proclamation by Mayor Mick Cornett declaring November 5th, as National Eating Healthy Day!

During the Public Comment portion of the meeting, we provided a brief overview of National Eating Healthy Day as it relates to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, we informed the council on how healthy options are not readily accessible in underserved areas within our community. The council was very receptive of the information and a general interest was conveyed for the initiative we are leading.

Councilman Pete White showed his interest in Tulsa’s Food on the Move and shared his desire to have similar localized nutrition conscious efforts implemented in Oklahoma City.  Mayor Mick Cornett re-tweeted a YTC tweet with the picture of staff and proclamation.

On November 5th the OKC VFHK team, along with Jennifer Seal,  AHA employee and local business owner, dropped off healthy food baskets to each of the Oklahoma City Councilmembers, Mayor Mick Cornett, and City Manager James Couch.

In each of these baskets was a short fact sheet about National Eating Healthy Day, which included a short tie-in to food access issues in Oklahoma City.

If you would like more information on our Voices for Healthy Kids effort please contact

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Albuquerque Recognizes World Stroke Day

On Monday, October 20th the Albuquerque City Council issued a proclamation at their meeting declaring October 29th as World Stroke Day.  It was a great event, with around 20 volunteers and public health advocates in attendance. All of the attendees who RSVP’d ahead of time were able to have their names read aloud and they were acknowledged as stroke survivors or AHA volunteers.  We partnered with the Albuquerque Stroke Club on this event, which really helped with its success.

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Tulsa Recognizes World Stroke Day

On October 23rd at the weekly City Council meeting, the Tulsa Council issued a proclamation recognizing October 29th as World Stroke Day. This was in the first time the Tulsa City Council has issued a proclamation related to stroke awareness.

In attendance to accept the proclamation was You’re the Cure advocates Donna McDannold and Thurman Paul.  Naomi Amaha and Communications Director Lindsey Hansen were also in attendance representing the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

After the proclamation was accepted, Donna McDannold shared her story as a multiple-stroke survivor. Since 2011, Donna has endured seven strokes. Before her first stroke, she served as a critical care stroke specialist. Now Donna is an active stroke awareness advocate and huge supporter for the AHA’s advocacy work.  Her speech touched every person in the room, resulting in a standing ovation. 

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Texas Cities Recognize World Stroke Day


On Wednesday October 29th, World Stroke Day, stroke survivors John Murphy & Anand Raghunathan, as well as Grassroots Action Team member Charmagne Coston, met with Austin City Council member Laura Morrison to accept a proclamation declaring October 29th as World Stroke Day in Austin. John & Anand shared their experience with stroke and the group brainstormed on ways to educate more Austinites about the signs of stroke, especially during the next Stroke Month.   


On October 27 Dallas issued a World Stroke Day Proclamation to a number of AHA volunteers and staff, including 3 stroke survivors. Dallas City Councilmember Dwaine Caraway spoke about his family’s experience with stroke and talked about how devastating this disease can be to a family.   “Stroke changes people’s lives” and people are lost without support of organizations like the AHA,” said Caraway.

Fort Worth

There was a great turnout on October 26 at the Fort Worth City Council Meeting for the World Stroke Day Proclamation.  Stroke survivors Alex Laverock, Bill Mellander, and Steve Jacob, showed their support for stroke awareness as Mayor Betsy Price presented the proclamation to the survivors.  AHA staff Brian Brooks, Corrie Hayward, and Kelsey Bernstein were also in attendance.

Mayor Price spoke about how stroke affects the Fort Worth community, and even shared a great story about one of her friends who just recently had a stroke at the age of 42 and was in great health.

Alex was the AHA spokesperson, who shared his personal story and did an amazing job representing the AHA and the survivors in attendance. 

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