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David Bordewyk South Dakota

As general manager and chief lobbyist for South Dakota Newspaper Association, I spend a portion of every winter at the state capitol in Pierre, advocating for newspapers, the First Amendment and open government issues before legislators and others.

Lobbying during the legislature involves “down time” -- waiting around the capitol to talk to legislators, sitting through lengthy committee hearings and more. It was during one of those down times a few years ago I took advantage of a mobile heart screening clinic being conducted at the state capitol.

That heart screening changed my life, if not saved my life.

Results of the screening led to further tests with a cardiologist in Sioux Falls and the discovery of severe heart disease. I had 90 percent blockages in three main coronary arteries.

I am grateful for the wonderful health care I’ve received here in South Dakota. I am blessed because I’ve been given a special opportunity to take better care of myself and do all that I can to live a healthy, wonderful life with my wife and two sons.

Excuse the pun, but I am serious when I say I’ve taken it all to heart. I exercise much more than I ever did. I eat much better these days. And I listen to my health-care providers. As a result, I feel better most days and I believe I live a more balanced, fulfilling life these days.

I also believe I have been given an opportunity to give back and that is one reason why I have chosen to be an advocate on behalf of the American Heart Association. If I can contribute in some small way to the wonderful, powerful work that AHA does, all the better.

It’s the least I can do, with the opportunities and blessings that have come my way.

A long-time advocate for a sugary drink excise tax in Vermont will now chair the American Heart Association’s Vermont Advocacy Committee and help promote nutrition standards and the removal of sugary drinks in restaurants kids’ meals.

Professor Jane Kolodinsky is also the chair of the University of Vermont’s Department of
Community Development and Applied Economics.  Addressing the AHA’s goal of setting nutrition standards in restaurant kids’ meals makes sense to her as it’s a topic she is familiar with.

Jane is a co-author of a chapter entitled, Childhood Obesity, Food Choice and Market Influence” in the book “Global Perspectives on Childhood Obesity.” One of the findings discussed in the publication is that the number of kids eating at fast food restaurants has increased over time.  Fast food restaurants are so popular that adolescents tend to eat at them twice a week and, on a typical day, 30% of youth aged 4-19 consume fast food.

Jane notes that with fast food being higher in fat and energy, children get a disproportionate number of their recommended daily calories at these establishments. Improving the nutrition of all restaurant kids meals will be an important step as dietary patterns are formed early in life.

Margo Knefelkamp, Indiana

While working full-time and earning her MBA, Margo adopted healthier habits that helped her lose 100 pounds.  She joined a CrossFit gym and exercises multiple times per week. She cut sugar-sweetened beverages and began eating healthier foods. The results have been an inspiration to her family.