American Heart Association - You’re the Cure
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We are Looking for Go Red Spokespeople!

Are you a woman who is a heart disease or stroke survivor? Has heart or stroke touched your life personally? Has a loved one had a heart attack or stroke? Have you made a lifestyle change to help prevent heart disease or stroke? We are looking for you to share your story! Help us spread the message!

Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women. By speaking up, we can save more lives! Raising your voice and sharing how you or a loved one have overcome heart disease or stroke is one of the strongest actions you can take against our leading health threats. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women® movement is looking for women to share their stories of survivorship, lifestyle changes, caregiving or another personal connection to heart disease and stroke to help empower others to put their health first.  Women who share their stories will have the chance to become a local spokesperson for the cause – representing Go Red For Women® in the community. If you’re interested in sharing your story with us, please contact allison.slattery@heart.org.

We would love for you to take the time to share your story today!

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NYC Smoking Rates Increase!

Scary but true - more New Yorkers are smoking today than they were just 4 years ago!  The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene just released data from their Community Healthy Survey that shows that smoking prevalence has increased to 16.1% in 2013 from a low of 14% in 2010.  For the first time in 7 years, New York City is home to more than 1 million smokers!  While our city has done so much to try to curb smoking, Big Tobacco is addicting more New Yorkers every day.  What is causing this increase?  We know there are three main pillars for effective tobacco control - a Smoke Free Air Law (check); a high excise tax (check - although we're no longer #1 in that category); and a well-funded tobacco control program.  Unfortunately, over the past 7 years, New York City's tobacco control program has been reduced by 36 percent.  We can do better.  We must do more to protect New Yorkers' heart-health!  Perhaps it's time that we revisit these three strongest tobacco policy interventions to see what more we can do!

If you want to ask your Councilmember and Mayor DeBlasio why we’re going in the wrong direction and to ask them to recommit to the fight to end smoking, click on the following link: http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=35485

To learn more about the new smoking rates, visit the city's link: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2014/pr035-14.shtml

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You’re the Cure Advocates Make A Difference in Mecklenburg County

On September 2nd, You’re the Cure advocates came together and attended a Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners meeting to discuss proposed tobacco-free regulations pertaining to Smoke Free Government Grounds and Tobacco Free Parks and Greenways.

During this hearing, several You’re the Cure advocates, including Juddson Rupp, Dr. Sandra Burke, and Dr. Thomas Barringer, spoke to the social and health effects of smoking. 

Juddson, speaking to social effects of smoking, said: “Not only being a survivor but being a parent and a community leader, that I’d like to see our public parks be smoke free so that it’s not so much hypocrisy when you go to a park and seeing people exercise… also seeing several people smoking or even on the golf course for that matter.”

Dr. Sandra Burke, cardiovascular scientist, AHA National Research Committee member, AHA Charlotte Metro Board member, and NC You’re the Cure member, spoke to the science of the damage smoking & second-hand smoke can have on endothelial cells in our body, damage which can ultimately produce heart attacks and even strokes.

Dr. Barringer, a physician specifying in cardiovascular disease prevention, also an AHA Charlotte Metro Board member and NC You’re the Cure member, said there were several reasons to pass the legislation, one of which is that “secondhand smoke is harmful to humans (especially the smaller they are) … it is a known cause of lung cancer and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by 25-30%.”

The American Heart Association was also joined by volunteers in other community groups, and walked away feeling confident that the reasons, both medical and social, for passing the proposed regulations were clearly and empirically supported and that the community of Mecklenburg County, as well as the Board of County Commissioners, was now more aware of why the vote on September 17th needs to be in support of the legislation.

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Is childhood obesity a problem in Rhode Island?

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and, according to the annual report The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, we still have some work to do in Rhode Island!   

How does the Ocean State rank in The State of Obesity report?

  • 13.2% of 10- to- 17-year-olds are obese in Rhode Island
  • 10.7% of high school students are obese in our state  

Rhode Island has lower childhood obesity rates than many other states, but 13.2% and 10.7% are still far too high!  We have to make sure that all kids have access to healthy foods and safe places to play and be active – we need to create a culture of health in our state where the default choice is the healthy one.  

Rhode Island's success can serve as an example to the rest of the country - but we can't put ourselves on a pedestal while leaving 10% of our kids behind.

The American Heart Association is starting a petition asking the Governor-Elect to prioritize childhood obesity prevention in our state – click the following link to sign today: http://www.yourethecure.org/composeletters_open.aspx?AlertID=35459

The petition will be delivered after the General Election in November.   
 
To view The State of Obesity report visit: http://stateofobesity.org/states/

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Poll Released on Parents Support for Healthier School Food Policies

The American Heart Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the PEW Charitable Trusts released a poll earlier this week which found the majority of parents support national nutrition standards for both school meals and snack food and beverages sold in schools.  Check it out below!

Parents Support Healthier School Food Policies by 3-to-1 Margin

WASHINGTON—The vast majority of parents of school-age children support strong national nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold to students during school, according to a poll released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and the American Heart Association (AHA). The findings come as school districts implement the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s "Smart Snacks in School" nutrition standards, which set basic limits on the fat, salt, and calories in foods and beverages sold through vending machines, school stores, and a la carte cafeteria menus.

The nationally representative poll assessed parents’ opinions of nutrition standards for both school meals and snack foods and beverages. Among the findings:

  • Most parents favor nutrition standards for all food served in schools.
    • 72 percent favor national standards for school meals.
    • 72 percent support standards for school snacks.
    • 91 percent support requiring schools to include a serving of fruits or vegetables with every meal.
    • 75 percent think salt should be limited in meals.
  • The majority of parents are concerned with the state of children’s health (80 percent) and with childhood obesity (74 percent).
  • Most parents hold a mixed or negative opinion of the nutritional quality of snack foods and beverages traditionally sold in schools and consider them to be only somewhat or not at all healthy. This applies to    foods sold a la carte (69 percent), in school stores (72 percent), and in vending machines (81 percent).

The Agriculture Department’s "Smart Snacks" standards, which took effect on July 1, 2014, represent the first major updates to national guidelines for school snack foods and beverages in more than 30 years. To meet the standards, a snack food must be a fruit, a vegetable, protein, dairy, or whole grain; have fewer than 200 calories; and be low in fat, sodium, and sugar. These guidelines follow similar nutrition standards for school lunches that took effect during the 2012-13 school year and are being met by approximately 90 percent of school districts.

Research has shown that both student health and school food service revenue can benefit from selling healthier snack foods and beverages. For example, a health impact assessment conducted by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project found that when schools implement healthier standards for snack and a la carte foods, students are more likely to purchase a school meal—a change that improves children's diets and school budgets at the same time, because schools earn reimbursements for meal sales.

The poll was conducted by Hart Research Associates and Ferguson Research. Data were collected via telephone surveys between June 19 and 28, 2014, among registered voters who are parents of public school students.

Pew, RWJF, and AHA are jointly supporting efforts to ensure all foods and beverages in schools are healthy. The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project is a collaboration between Pew and RWJF. Voices for Healthy Kids is an initiative of RWJF and AHA, with Pew providing additional expertise.

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The Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project provides nonpartisan analysis and evidence-based recommendations on policies that affect the safety and healthfulness of school foods. The project is a collaboration between The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Learn more at www.healthyschoolfoodsnow.org. 

Voices for Healthy Kids is a national advocacy initiative focused on uniting the movement to prevent childhood obesity. A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association, the initiative seeks to help reverse the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic by 2015 by ensuring children have access to healthy foods and beverages, as well as safe opportunities for physical activity. Learn more about the childhood obesity epidemic and how you can help turn it around at www.voicesforhealthykids.org

 

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Letter to the Editor - MN Schools Reducing Physical Education

This weekend the Star Tribune ran an article talking about PE in Minnesota and the waivers schools are seeking in order to close the education gap. We know that fit kids learn better and less Physical Education isn't the answer. Please check out the Letter to the Editor that ran in the Star Tribune in response to this article from AHA's Rachel Callanan, who is the Regional Vice President of Advocacy for Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Minneapolis Public Schools face great challenges in closing the achievement gap. However, reducing or eliminating physical education is not the solution ("No gym, no sweat" Sept. 7, 2014). In fact, data from the 2013 Minnesota Student Survey show that children who report being more physically active also report higher grades. There is a growing body of research that school-based physical activity positively affects student performance, improves classroom behavior, and improves cognitive function. With this evidence in mind, we should be giving students MORE opportunities to be physically active and learn lifelong skills for physical activity through physical education, not reducing them.

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What's Happening in 2015?

Recently the North Carolina Advocacy Coordinating Committee had a teleconference to finalize the 2015 Public Policy Agenda for North Carolina. The committee is excited to announce the priorities for the upcoming year and to see what all we can accomplish in a new exciting legislative session! Below you will find the approved 2015 Public Policy Agenda, we hope that the issues we are focusing on will be as exciting for you as they are to us and that you are looking forward to all the great things that are in store for the upcoming year!

 

The American Heart Association / American Stroke Association supports and advocates for public policies that will help improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths by coronary heart disease and stroke by 20 percent by 2020.

State Policy Priorities and Goals

  • Increase availability of healthy foods (including fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, and lean meats/seafood) in North Carolina:
    • Secure public funding to create a Healthy Corner Store initiative that increases the amount of healthy food offered in existing corner stores in low and moderate income communities.
    • Secure public funding to create a Healthy Food Financing initiative to increase the number of healthy food retail outlets in underserved communities.
  • Close the Coverage Gap in North Carolina to assure access to health care for adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level.
  • Support the adoption of coverage for all evidence-based, cardiovascular-related United States Prevention Services Task Force (USPSTF) A and B preventive services with no or minimal cost-sharing by NC Medicaid.
  • Tobacco Control – Support an increase North Carolina’s cigarette excise tax by $1.00 per pack and support an excise tax increase on other tobacco (non-cigarette) products to a tax rate equivalent with that of cigarettes.
  • Support codifying the Safe Routes to School program in NC.

Local Policy Priorities and Goals

  • Promote the adoption of citywide food and beverage vending and/or service standards consistent with AHA guidelines in the cities of Raleigh and Charlotte.
  • Support efforts in Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte to enact smoke-free policies to provide protection from indoor exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Promote daily physical activity in the Greater Raleigh and Charlotte communities by supporting policy efforts for active transportation, including bike and pedestrian pathways.

Have any questions about the 2015 NC Public Policy Agenda?  Email Betsy Vetter (betsy.vetter@heart.org) for more information!

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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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The Salty Truth

Almost 60% of Americans have tried to reduce the amount of sodium they consume, according to a new survey.  But with excess salt in the processed and restaurant foods that we eat, it can be tough to avoid.  So, it’s no surprise that the overwhelming majority of us, 75%, say they want to see less sodium in our food supply.
 
How can we make that happen?  It will take a vocal consumer base, food manufacturers and restaurants committing to changes, and Food and Drug Administration guidelines to give Americans more choice over the sodium we consume.

Help us continue to build the base of heart-smart consumers by spreading awareness about our country’s salty problem.  Just click in our new infographic below to share with family and friends.

For more information and resources, visit our sodium website. You can take the pledge to ‘break-up’ with salt, read the latest news on the Salty Scoop blog, and get helpful recipes and cooking tips!

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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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