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The State of Obesity: Wisconsin's Report

In recognition of Childhood Obesity Awareness month, we are pleased to be able to provide our advocates with the most recent statistics on childhood obesity in our state and across the nation. The State of Obesity report (formerly F as in Fat), a project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides a close-up look at our progress toward reducing childhood obesity, and the work that lies ahead of us to ensure our kids are growing up healthy and strong.  You can read the full report by clicking here to visit www.stateofobesity.org

For the past 11 years, this report has raised awareness about the serious nature of obesity, and encouraged the creation of a national obesity prevention strategy.  The American Heart Association has worked alongside our partners at the Trust and RWJ Foundation, and others, to develop effective approaches for reversing the obesity epidemic at the state and federal level.

Wisconsin is ranked 22nd among all states and the District of Columbia.  Click here to see our state report.

The report also highlights the various policy objectives that are important in our fight to reduce obesity:  physical activity before, during and after school, school nutrition, access to healthy and affordable food, food and beverage marketing, etc.  Reducing obesity in our communities will take dedication, focus, innovation and cooperation.  Please join us in this fight!  See how you can take action at www.yourethecure.org

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Share Your Story: Dan & Andrea Solero

Dan & Andrea Solero Mooresville, IN

19 years ago my dad, a physician, said my boyfriend would have a heart attack by the time he was 40.  Why would he scare me like this at 22 years old? Why would I care that was a life time away.  I’ve been married to that man for 13 years now. When he turned 40, my dad’s prediction came back to me. Would this really happen? He does have high cholesterol, but he is so active. We’re runners, we eat healthy. We’re already doing everything “right”.

Dan knew he was at risk, he even did a heart scan and met with a cardiologist when the scan showed some build up. The cardiologist ran some tests. Before we could even get the results on July 18, 2012, Dan came to me saying, "my jaw hurts will you take me to prompt med?" Tell me more about the pain I said. He snapped it just hurts, are you going to take me?  Dan is never sick and never agitated. Instantly in my head I hear my dads words and then I think oh my God, he’s having a heart attack.  Now I should have called 911, but I didn’t. We’re in between county lines and we don’t always get a quick response. I knew I could have him to the hospital, safely, in less that 15 minutes. It might take that long just to get a dispatch.  I drove him to St. Francis Mooresville.  On the way he said his back was hurting.  I said, babe, you’re having a heart attack, when did you last take an aspirin? "I am not, just drive!" he replied. (looking back I think he knew he was!) Pulling into the ER I said the words heart attack and he was instantly swarmed by a team of doctors and nurses. The monitors confirmed he was in the beginning stages of what would be a massive attack that didn’t fully hit him until he was in an ambulance to the Heart Hospital at St Francis Indianapolis.  The surgeon told me Dan had 100% blockage of his main artery and a 90% blockage of the secondary. “The Widow Maker” as it’s called.  He said I saved his life.   I saved his life. How did I come so close to being a widow at 39 years old? I called my dad hysterically thanking him for warning me so many years ago.   I can’t take all the credit. Dan knew he was at a high risk because he and nearly everyone in his family has high cholesterol.  He was on the right track, taking nearly every statin that’s been available for the last 15 years, he was doing the right things.  Everyone said, but Dan runs, he eats right, he’s young.   There isn’t a “look” you do not have to be an aging, over weight, sedentary person to have a heart attack.  We want people to know that. We want people to research their family history, to get heart scans, to have their cholesterol checked and to have their children’s checked as well.  We found out Dan has Familial Hypercholesterolemia , our son does too.  We recently celebrated his 2 year anniversary. It’s an anniversary I look forward to celebrating every year. Easily, the best and worst day of my life.  We are proud to be a part of the heart walk again this year.  Dan was one of the recipients for the Lifestyle Change award in 2013.  We are recruiting our friends and family to join our group, Jonnie’s Goodguys, which is a heart health focus running club we formed after losing a friend to an aortic dissection.  We are surrounded by people that are affected by heart issues way too young. We are trying to do our small part to give them the warning signs they need to take care of themselves!

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What is Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Did you know that one in every 100,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 is diagnosed with a diseased state of the heart known as cardiomyopathy?  While it is a relatively rare condition in kids, it poses serious health risks, making early diagnosis important.  As the heart weakens due to abnormities of the muscle fibers, it loses the ability to pump blood effectively and heart failure or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias or dysrhythmia) may occur.

That’s why we’re proud to team up with the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation this month- Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Awareness Month- to make more parents aware of this condition (signs and symptoms) and to spread the word about the policy changes we can all support to protect our youngest hearts.
 
As a You’re the Cure advocate, you know how important medical research is to improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease.  And pediatric cardiomyopathy is no exception.  However, a serious lack of research on this condition leaves many unanswered questions about its causes.  On behalf of all young pediatric cardiomyopathy patients, join us in calling on Congress to prioritize our nation’s investment in medical research.
  
Additionally, we must speak-up to better equip schools to respond quickly to medical emergencies, such as cardiac arrest caused by pediatric cardiomyopathy.  State laws, like the one passed in Massachusetts, require schools to develop emergency medical response plans that can include:

  • A method to establish a rapid communication system linking all parts of the school campus with Emergency Medical Services
  • Protocols for activating EMS and additional emergency personnel in the event of a medical emergency
  • A determination of EMS response time to any location on campus
  • A method for providing training in CPR and First Aid to teachers, athletic coaches, trainers and others – which may include High School students
  • A listing of the location of AEDs and the school personnel trained to use the AED

CPR high school graduation requirements are another important measure to ensure bystanders, particularly in the school setting, are prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency.  19 states have already passed these life-saving laws and we’re on a mission to ensure every student in every state graduates ‘CPR Smart’.
   
With increased awareness and research of pediatric cardiomyopathy and policy changes to ensure communities and schools are able to respond to cardiac emergencies, we can protect more young hearts.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy?  Join our new Support Network today to connect with others who share the heart condition.   

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Let us feature you and your "why"

The American Heart Association recently launched its new brand “Life is Why.”  We want people to experience more of life's precious moments.  It's why we've made better heart and brain health our mission.

What is your “why?”  Tell us why you advocate for heart health and stroke care and your story could become our “Advocate Spotlight” in our next newsletter.  Email Jason Harder at Jason.harder@heart.org if you're interested in sharing.  All we need is your photograph and a couple paragraphs about you and your "why".

Need inspiration?  Check out www.lifeiswhy.org.

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Mark Your Calendar for the EmpowerMEnt Challenge!

We’re gearing up for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and we want you to be in on all of the action!  Throughout September, we’re encouraging families across the country to take control of their healthy by participating in the EmpowerMEnt Challenge.  Each week, families and kids will pursue a different goal, including eating more fruits and veggies, limiting sugary drinks, reducing sodium intake, and increasing physical activity.  Each goal is fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family.  And by the end of the month, families will be a step ahead on the road to a heart-healthy life. 

So mark your calendar for the challenge kick-off on September 1st!  Complimentary templates and activities, broken down into the themed weeks, are now available on www.heart.org/healthierkids.  In addition, you're invited to join our EmpowerMEnt Challenge Facebook group, where you can make the commitment to take the challenge and share your progress with others.  

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Pulse Oximetry - it's official!

The big news from last week was all about Pulse Oximetry!  As of Thursday, July 3, all babies born in Wisconsin will be screened for CCHD prior to hospital discharge.  There has been a lot of great media coverage about this - click the link below to read a great article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wisconsin has joined at least 31 other states that require testing of all newborns for critical congenital heart disease, one of the most common inherited birth defects.

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Teaching Gardens = Learning Laboratories for Kids

Studies show that when kids grow their own fruits and vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them. That’s the idea behind the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens.  While 1/3 of American children are classified as overweight or obese, AHA Teaching Gardens is fighting this unhealthy trend by giving children access to healthy fruits and vegetables and instilling a life time appreciation for healthy foods.

Aimed at first through fifth graders, we teach children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits. Garden-themed lessons teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands.

Over 270 gardens are currently in use nationwide reaching and teaching thousands of students, with more gardens being added every day.  You can find an American Heart Association Teaching Garden in your area here or email teachinggardens@heart.org to find how you can get involved.

               

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Across America, 23 million students are eating healthier thanks to Farm to School programs

A 2012 study by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicted that obesity rates in the U.S.could exceed 44% by 2030, costing our country an additional $66 billion per year in medical expenses.  But here's the good news:  After years of focused initiatives to address childhood health and nutrition including the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, obesity rates are on the decline.

And there's is more good news.  More than 23 million students are now more likely to say yes to broccoli salad or other healthy fruits and veggies, thanks to their school's participation in the farm to school program.  Farm school enrich the connection kids have with fresh healthy food and local farmers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. Learn more about the WI Farm to School Program here.

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One Million Milestone

Did you hear the big news?  We’ve reached an amazing milestone in our campaign to teach all students to be ‘CPR Smart’!  17 states now require CPR training as a graduation requirement, which adds up to over one million annual graduates who are prepared to save a life.  Congratulations to all of the You’re the Cure advocates and community partners who have spoken-up for training our next generation of life-savers.   

But with every advocacy celebration comes a new call to action.  33 states still need to pass legislation to make CPR a graduation requirement and you can help us get there!  Here are a couple simple things you can do right now to get the word out:

1) Watch Miss Teen International Haley Pontius share how a bad day can be turned into a day to remember when students know CPR.  And don’t forget to share this PSA on social media with the hashtag #CPRinSchools!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

2) Do you live in one of the 33 states that have not made CPR a graduation requirement yet?  Take our Be CPR Smart pledge to show your support and join the movement.  We’ll keep you updated on the progress being made in your state. 


 

 

We hope you’ll help keep the momentum going as we support many states working to pass this legislation into 2015.  Several states have already had success in securing funding for CPR training in schools, but now need to push for the legislature to pass the graduation requirement and in Illinois, the Governor recently signed legislation that requires schools to offer CPR & AED training to students. 

Bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates when given right away and with 424,000 people suffering out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, this law is critical to helping save lives.  Thank you for being part of our movement to train the next generation of life-savers!


PS- Inspired to be CPR smart too?  Take 60 seconds to learn how to save a life with Hands-Only CPR.

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Advocacy in the News

Click here to read or listen to audio of Brad Gast, Chairman of the American Heart Association's Wisconsin's Advocacy Committee, discuss the victories that made 2014 such a great year for advocacy at the AHA! 

These successes are driven by volunteers like you.  If you'd like to get more involved and help keep the ball rolling, please visit http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/actioncenter.aspx and see what you can do today! 

 

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