American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Upper Midwest Obesity Rates Trimmed by Minnesota!

Check out this press release from the Minnesota Department of Health! Way to go Minnesota!

Minnesota has outperformed nearby states by being the only one of its neighbors to bend the curve on obesity rates, according to a recent MDH analysis of CDC data.

Minnesota’s adult obesity rates have held constant since 2008, while rates continued climbing nationally and in nearby states. Minnesota was the only state in the region, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa, to succeed at bringing its obesity rate below 26 percent. Minnesota’s rates have stayed below 26 percent since 2010, while according to the most recent 2013 CDC data, neighboring states have seen their rates climb to the range of 29 to 31 percent.

In addition, the number of Minnesotans at a healthy weight in 2013 has increased by more than 60,000 compared with 2010. This is more than 11 percent higher than the U.S. as a whole. By keeping obesity rates flat in Minnesota, MDH estimates savings of $265 million in statewide obesity-related medical expenses incurred as of 2013.  Continue reading here

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MN Advocates Testify on AHA Issues at the Capitol

Last week was full of hearings up at the Capitol and State Office Building! We want to thank ALL of our volunteers who testified on our issues. Check it out below:

The House Transportation Finance Committee released their omnibus transportation finance bill on Tuesday. We lined up 4 testifiers to focus on a narrative about bike/walk investment that stressed the business case and need for investment in Greater MN. Peter Grasse (3M Employees Bicycle User Group), Patrick Hollister (Active Living Planner, PartnerSHIP4Health), Dawn Moen (Program Specialist, BLEND-CentraCare Health Foundation), Dorian Grilley (Executive Director, Bicycle Alliance of MN).

Patrick Hollister (right) and Peter Grasse  (below) testified  at the MN House Transportation Committee hearing about the economic and social benefits that walkable/bikeable communities bring to Greater MN and the need for infrastructure in the suburbs to support bicycling as a real choice to get to and from work. ‪#‎FundBikePedinMN‬ ‪#‎mnleg

Dawn Moen (below), testified in the MN House Transportation Committee, thanking the committee for their support of Safe Routes to School and advocating for more state investment in active transportation.




The Physical Education bill was heard in the Senate Education Budget Division on Thur. April 8th and in the House Education Finance Committee on Friday April 10th. Matt Johnson, PE teacher at Hassan Elementary School in Rogers (main picture and below), testified on our bill to ensure all MN students get a quality physical education. He opened by asking the committee members to stand up and move around to get some blood flow to the brain.


The bill will be laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus education bill. Thank you, Rep. Bob Dettmer, for being a tremendous lead author and champion for PE!

Dr. Russell Luepker, a longtime AHA volunteer (below) testified against the proposed tax relief for premium cigars in the Senate Tax Committee on Wed. April 8th. He did a fantastic job, as always, standing up against reducing the hard won tobacco tax increase we achieved in 2013. Check out this interesting article in the Star Tribune covering the hearing: “Cigar tax cut considered at Capitol, but anti-smoking activists push back”

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Volunteers Needed in the You’re the Cure Area at the Twin Cities Heart Walk

Calling all survivors, caregivers, advocates, donors and volunteers!

The Advocacy Department needs 4-6 volunteers for our upcoming Twin Cities Heart Walk on Saturday, April 25, 2015  at Target Field. We will need help from 6:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. working at the advocacy information table, collecting petition cards and recruiting new advocates to our network. All volunteers will be dismissed in time to participate in the opening ceremonies and the walk that morning. All volunteers will receive a You’re the Cure t-shirt.

Please let us know if you and your friends and family can help at this event by contacting Jess Nolan at including the event name, the names of those willing to volunteers and their t-shirt size.


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Share Your Story: Bernard P. Friel

Bernard P. Friel Mendota Heights, MN

On February 27, 1969 at the age of 38, I suffered a myocardial infarction, a heart attack, that I was not expected to survive. I spent a week in the CCU unit, and 3 more weeks in the hospital. Angiograms indicated a significant block in the anterior descending coronary artery.

No surgical procedures were available in 1969 except the “Vineberg” which my doctor and the Mayo clinic thought inadvisable. Instead they prescribed a change of lifestyle, and with their help and that of the then Minnesota American Heart Association my wife changed our diet, and I embarked on an exercise program.

I ran my first of 5 marathons in 1976. I had always been an outdoors person, but my improved health motivated me to become involved in a basic running program eventually consisting of 50 miles per week.

In the late 1970s I undertook to do some extensive wilderness backpacking. By 1980 I became involved in whitewater and ocean kayaking and river rafting. Eventually I participated in 4 private trips down the Grand Canyon, one of which I led, and on two of which I rowed one of the rafts.

In my late 50s and early 60s I began serious mountain climbing, summiting Mount Rainier twice in my early 60s (having failed once in my late 50s) and Mount Kilimanjaro at 67.  Also in my 50s, 60s and 70s I served as a crewmember on a 57-foot ketch for periods up to a month sailing in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the North Atlantic.

In my early 70s I led a raft trip from the Brooks Mountains to the Arctic Ocean in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Through the years since the heart attack I have also led over 25 canoe trips in the Quetico wilderness of Ontario, the most recent being in the late spring of 2013.

One other undertaking of note was a 10-day mission to Papua New Guinea in 2007 where our mission group was successful in locating four aircraft lost there in the deep jungles during WWII.
While the change in lifestyle provided me with a variety of experiences I might not otherwise have undertaken, it had positive consequences in my professional life as a lawyer as well. In 1972 I organized the municipal bond department in my law firm, Briggs and Morgan P.A. , from which I have been retired since 2001.

Now in my 84th year I continue to be in excellent health and still lead a vigorous life style. I bike and walk and have a program of other exercises. The years of long distance running provided me with excellent collateral coronary circulation around, what tests show, is still significant arterial narrowing. The running eventually cost me a knee replacement (an easy trade for a heart replacement) which has unfortunately curtailed my running, and cost me some weight gain.

Throughout these 45 years, I have had annual checkups with my cardiologist, often involving a stress exercise test, because I did not wish to undertake any foolish risk, and I have not had a single event that would even suggest any coronary risk or issue.

Several years ago I put together a motivational program utilizing my love for photography and my skills and coronary history entitled “A CHANGE OF HEART, taking charge of your health for a long, healthy, vigorous and more satisfying life”, which I have presented numerous times to a variety of audiences.

My life experience over the last 45 years is due in no small part to a doctor who was ahead of the curve in recognizing the bad effects of cholesterol, and the benefits of exercise, and a diet low  in fat, and the helpful dietary information then available only from the American Heart Association. My doctor, 10 years my senior, often referred to me as his “Poster Child” for lifestyle change and recovery, and when he passed away 2 years ago I was honored to provide a eulogy at his funeral.

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Step Up with Minnesotans on National Walking Day!

Today is National Walking Day! Grab your friends, family or coworkers and get active on this beautiful spring day!  Check out the article below posted by the Public News Source.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Across Minnesota today, children and adults will be taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. This is National Walking Day from the American Heart Association.

State Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, said it's also the kickoff of Minnesota's 30 Days of Biking Challenge, encouraging people to be active every day in April and make it a habit going forward.

"We know that we have a childhood obesity and adult obesity issue in this country," he said. "We're trying to bring awareness to the need for good health, and one way to get that is through safe walking and also biking."
Continue reading here


Photo: Elizabeth/Flickr

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Dr. Russell Luepker Testifies in House Tax Committee

Minnesota State Advocacy Committee member, Dr. Russell Luepker, testified today against the proposal to provide tax relief for premium cigars in the House Tax Committee. The bill (HF1544) rolls back the tax on premium cigars from $3.50 per cigar to $.50 per cigar. The higher tax was a gain we made in 2013 with passage of the tobacco tax increase. Thank you Dr. Luepker for providing very important health information, as the House Tax committee considers this policy!


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Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition's First Lobby Day a Success!

The first ever Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Lobby Day was held on March 25th, and it was a huge success! Many people described this event as "the best lobby day ever!" Thank you to all the volunteers, staff and attendees who made this event happen! There were well over 200 attendees who received excellent training throughout the morning program then met with 148 state legislators (!) in the afternoon to advocate for:

1) A transportation funding bill that includes resources to improve pedestrian and bicycle options
2) A bill to strengthen physical education standards in MN schools
3) Continued base funding for SHIP

During the morning training Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and Health Commissioner Ehlinger spoke about the future of transportation policy for public health. Sen. Dibble and Rep. Dettmer spoke about safe routes and quality physical education!

Attendees also dropped packets off at the offices of all 201 legislators that included petition cards in support of the Active Transportation and Physical Education.

A huge representation from the Duluth community showed their support as well! This included 30 students from Duluth East & Denfeld along with chaperones, Duluth school board member, UMD students representing Colleges against Cancer, RFL volunteers, SLB & ASC-CAN!

Their TV sponsor, KBJR, came to the state building and met with the delegation and did a great interview which aired that night. Watch Here 

Check out a few photos from the day below!

Professional photos: By Rebecca Studios
Photos: Lobby Day Attendees










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AmandaJean Beaulieu Speaks on Capitol Steps in D.C.!

One of our top advocacy volunteers and stroke survivor, AmandaJean Beaulieu spoke at U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's press conference on the Capitol Steps in D.C. yesterday morning in honor of the 5th Anniversery of the signing of the Affordable Care Act!

Here is a link to AmandaJean’s full remarks that she delivered during the event!

Learn more about AmandaJean's story HERE


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Urging Minnesotans to Rethink Their Drink

Check out this article from the Public News Service on sugar sweetened beverages!

ST. PAUL, Minn. - March is National Nutrition Month, and those across the state wanting to make some positive changes are being told to "Rethink Your Drink."

Donna McDuffie, nutrition coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Health, says far too many children and adults are getting an unhealthy excess of calories through sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas, iced teas, coffees, and energy and sports drinks.

"Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugar in the American diet and that contributes to things like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease," says McDuffie. - Continue reading here


Photo: Shardayyy/Flickr

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