American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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AHA President Says: The Science is Clear on Sodium Reduction

Check this out! In a new video, the President of the AHA, Dr. Mark Creager, explains that the science behind sodium reduction is clear. He says that robust evidence has linked excess sodium intake with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. And, he points out that you can do something about it: join AHA’s efforts to demand change in the amounts of sodium in our food supply.

“Nearly 80 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods” says AHA president Dr. Mark Creager. The video shows the 6 foods that contribute the most salt to the American diet: breads & rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches."

To see the video, head over to our Sodium Breakup blog!

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Share Your Story: Brandie Kersey

Brandie Kersey, Indiana

Birthdays are times of celebration. And our 21st birthday – well many of us remember that as a milestone of graduating into adulthood. But turning 21 was not a happy occasion for Brandie Kersey. Working two jobs, Brandie suddenly started experiencing some health problems.

She was short of breath, couldn’t stand for long periods of time, had difficulty sleeping and was experiencing dizziness. In addition, her heart would occasionally beat rapidly or irregularly.  Eventually Brandie made her way to a cardiologist who discovered that Brandie’s heart was beating more than 100 times per minute – almost twice the normal resting heart rate for an adult. Doctors scheduled a PVC heart ablation to “scar” parts of the heart and prevent the abnormal electrical signals that cause an irregular heartbeat.

The health scare caused Brandie to take her health more seriously, adopting a healthier diet. She walks in the #IndyHeartWalk to raise awareness that heart disease can strike anyone and to celebrate her successful surgery.

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CDC releases new study about school lunches

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new study entitled, “Improvements and Disparities in Types of Foods and Milk Beverages Offered in Elementary School Lunches, 2006–2007 to 2013–2014,” by Lindsey Turner, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, Lisa Powell and Frank J. Chaloupka. 

In this study, researchers analyzed survey responses from 4,630 public elementary schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. The survey evaluated disparities and changes in school lunch characteristics from 2006-2007 to 2013-2014. A report evaluating the changes in school lunches was published last year by Bridging the Gap, a nationally recognized research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This latest paper evaluates the disparities findings of the research.

Check out the rest of the story on

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Be a featured advocate!

Each month in our newsletter, we highlight one of our great American Heart Association volunteers or survivors.  We always need new stories to feature - can you help?

If you'd like to be featured in our monthly newsletter and on our website, please send an email to and let me know!  You can check out what others have shared by visiting:

Want to help?  There are three things we need:

1.  The story.  We will have room for a short paragraph.  There is no story too small and everyone is welcome to submit their experience.  We want you to make your story grab the attention of people who come to the site.  Be passionate.  Explain how your experience has impacted your life and why you are committed to helping us advocate.

2. A picture.  Yes, we’ll need your best photo we can post so that everyone will see that there is a real person behind the story.

3. Your permission.  This is the boring part.  If you’d like to be featured on the website, I’ll send you a form that has to be filled out and returned.

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The healthy difference a month can make

March is Nutrition Month, and a perfect time to get more involved with the AHA’s ongoing efforts to promote science-based food and nutrition programs that help reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Every day, we’re seeing new initiatives: to make fruits and vegetables more affordable; to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened beverages that our kids are drinking; and of course, to ensure students are getting the healthiest school meals possible, all with the same goal: to help families across the country lead the healthiest lives they possibly can.

It’s also a great opportunity to lower your sodium intake. The average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day – more than twice the AHA-recommended amount. Excessive sodium consumption has been shown to lead to elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Visit for tips on to lower your intake and to get heart-healthy recipes.

However you choose to celebrate, Nutrition Month gives us all the chance to take control of our diets; to recommit to eating fresh, healthy foods; and to remember all month long that you’re the cure.

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Take the You're the Cure Advocate Survey

2015 was a great year for You're the Cure advocates and the many policy efforts that you work on. We have big plans for 2016, and we want to hear from you and what you want to see in the future for You're the Cure.

So take the survey now and let your voice be heard.

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Reminder: send your message today!

Great news!  Last Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted 61-36 to pass House Bill 1001.  As you may remember, this is the legislation that includes a $1 increase in Indiana’s cigarette tax.  Thank you to every advocate who attended our Day at the Statehouse last week, every advocate who submitted a Letter to the Editor, every advocate who called their lawmaker, and every advocate who has sent a message to lawmakers in support of this measure. 

You can still send your lawmaker a Thank You note for their vote!  Click here to join in:

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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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RSVP to join us at the Statehouse!

February is American Heart Month and it will be here before you know it!  You're invited to help the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology kick off the month by joining us in Indianapolis for a free advocacy event at the Statehouse on February 2nd. 
Click here to register for our annual Day at the Statehouse:
We've got a lot of issues we're working with legislators on this year.  Important pieces of legislation about access to healthy food, stroke systems of care, and increasing Indiana's tobacco tax to name a few.  But in order to really make an impact, we need you to talk to your lawmakers about them too!
On February 2nd, we'll be meeting at the Indiana State Library across from the Statehouse.  Doors open that morning at 9:00 am and advocates can arrive any time between then and 10:00 am.  Our training session begins at 10:00 am sharp.  We'll discuss each issue, have a question & answer session and discuss the best ways to talk about the topics with your lawmakers.  At 11:15 am we will depart for the Statehouse, where at 11:30 am there will be a stage presentation, a healthy lunch and time to connect with your lawmakers to advocate for the important legislation they are considering.

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Check out this article about Northwest Indiana residents access to health foods, featuring Danielle Patterson, Government Relations Director with the American Heart Association

 Less than three miles from Gary is what Chickita Merriweather would describe as a food haven. But getting there is no small feat.

The mother of seven embarks on an hour long journey every two weeks, which includes a seven-block walk on sometimes inaccessible streets to get to the nearest bus stop. The long bus ride takes her to the closet grocery stores in another community – Merrillville.

“Buses don’t run very often. Some come every hour, and if you miss one you have to wait another hour. It’s a really frustrating experience just to find food,” said Merriweather.

The Times recently highlighted an Associated Press investigation that revealed large food retailers opened 36 new supermarkets across Indiana in the last four years, yet only three were in areas that have limited access to fresh meat and produce.

To read more of this story   click here.

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