American Heart Association - You’re the Cure
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Find the Heart Walk Near You

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier community event, helping to save lives from heart disease and stroke. More than 300 walks across America raise funds to support valuable health research, education and advocacy programs of the American Heart Association in every state. Our You’re the Cure advocacy movement – and our public policy successes along the way – are all made possible by the funds raised by the Heart Walk. Whether it’s CPR laws passed to train the next generation of lifesavers or policy to regulate tobacco products and prevent youth smoking,  together we are building a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The Heart Walk is truly a community event, celebrating survivors, living healthy, and being physically active. We hope you’ll join us and visit the site today. If there is not a walk listed in your area soon,  it may be coming in the spring season or you can join a virtual event. And don’t forget to connect with your local advocacy staff and ask about your local Heart Walk day-of You’re the Cure plans - they may need your help spreading the word. Thanks for all you do, and happy Heart Walk season.

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NH Governor Responds to Advocates Request for a Veto

In an 'end of session’ twist, NH You’re The Cure advocates had to rush into action to oppose a bill which threatened our Smoke-free Restaurant law - and succeeded in securing the Governor’s veto!  In May the NH Legislature passed a bill, amended to add a provision loosening the license criteria for Cigar Bars.  When this specific class of business was created by legislation several years ago, Cigar Bars were not permitted to sell or serve free food to customers, to prevent unfair competition with restaurants abiding by the Smoke-free Law.  AHA volunteers made phone calls into the Governor’s office urging her to veto SB495, and Governor Hassan agreed this would be a significant rollback to NH's Smoke Free Bar and Restaurant law.  Advocates’ prompt action made a difference in protecting public health policy.

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Help Protect PE for Kids Like Me!

Guest post from Reagan Spomer, 6th grader Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board Member & You’re the Cure Advocate

I have two words for you… scooter hockey.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  That’s because it is!  Scooter hockey, along with cage ball and 3-way soccer are some of my favorite activities in gym class, which I have a few times a week.

I’m glad I have physical education for a number of reasons.  It keeps me active and teaches me to try new things.  It helps me focus on my school work.  It relieves my stress.  And most of all, it makes me feel great! 

But I know a lot of schools don’t have regular PE like my schools does.  That means a lot of kids are missing out on the benefits of being active during the school day.  I think this needs to change.   

Will you help?  As part of the nationwide campaign to protect PE in schools, Voices for Healthy Kids has created a photo petition map to show how many people across the country love PE like I do.  As people share their pictures, the map will change colors.  I’ve added my “I heart PE” photo for South Dakota.  Will you do the same for your state?  It’s really easy:

  1. Print an “I heart PE” sign (or make your own!)
  2. Take a picture of yourself holding the sign.
  3. Click on your state to share your photo.

Thanks for helping to protect PE for kids like me!
-Reagan

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The Legislative Session is a Wrap!

New Hampshire state lawmakers have finished session and bills now move on to the Governor’s office for signing into law. Two of the American Heart Association’s priority bills have succeeded. The Reauthorization of NH’s Medicaid Expansion program, continues healthcare coverage for 47,000 for another two years. The Study Committee for Complete Streets policy will engage advocates, lawmakers and state agencies into the fall.  Work on two other issue areas of importance to the AHA mission to save lives and improve Heart Health will continue into the next session. Over the summer and fall months the AHA will be working on our new campaign for Healthy Active Kids, to improve school and community environments to support access to healthy foods and physical activity. Local advocacy continues as well for CPR training of students prior to graduation from high schools. Tobacco control efforts also continue, including the goal of raising the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years. Information on these opportunities for advocates to become involved will be communicated through the You’re The Cure network. 

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Will you help influence scientific research?

We need to hear from consumers like you as the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) partner together on the future of research. Your experience could lead to the next research study to improve heart disease and stroke treatment.

As an advocate we’ve asked you to speak out for increased funding for medical research and you’ve answered by contacting lawmakers and sharing your personal stories as survivors, caregivers, and loved ones touched by heart and stroke disease. Now we invite you to share your experience, the decisions made in determining your or your loved one’s treatment plans and the factors that influenced those decisions. If we better understand your experience it can help guide the research that will lead to better care tailored to the specific needs of patients.

If you’ve had a heart attack, suffered a stroke, or you know a loved one who has, your unique understanding could help guide research to solve un-met care challenges faced by individuals like you and improve heart and stroke treatment.

Here are the details:

  • We are focused on un-met challenges faced by patients and caregivers like you. 
  • To join this challenge, you’ll be asked to provide a written submission of your first-hand experience after a heart disease or stroke event.
  • The story and description of the concerns you faced and the decisions you made should be personal and not a general case.
  • A team of scientific professionals and patient representatives with expertise in heart disease and stroke will review your story. Learning more about issues and concerns important to your decision-making can help them improve experiences and outcomes for patients in the future.
  • If your submission is chosen, you could win $1,000 and possibly help shape the future of cardiovascular research.
  • All submissions must be received by June 8, 2016.

Please take this important challenge and share your insights. Your story matters. Take the challenge today!

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Are the streets in your town complete?

In New Hampshire we usually think of roads going through our towns as "complete" when we are able to drive our cars without having to avoid potholes.  But "Complete Streets" means so much more.  Complete Streets is a design approach that contributes to a community’s quality of life, encouraging residents to be physically active by creating roadways that are safe and convenient for all modes of transportation, including bicycles and pedestrians.  The NH Legislature is one step away from passing legislation to create a study committee to examine how a Complete Streets policy can benefit us all.  This is a unique opportunity for NH to improve public health and to create more walkable, liveable communities.  

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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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A Win for Access to Healthcare in New Hampshire

Last month the Legislature voted to continue the NH Health Protection Program for another two years!  The American Heart Association knows providing low wage workers access to affordable healthcare is key to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.  For the past two years, nearly 47,000 Granite Staters have been able to access preventive healthcare through New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion program.  Without legislative action though, this successful program would have ended on December 31 of this year. For heart disease and stroke patients and those at risk, access to quality, affordable care is critical.  We know Medicaid beneficiaries with heart disease are twice as likely to take their medication appropriately, to have their blood pressure controlled and to have been checked for high cholesterol, compared to those who are uninsured.  NH has already seen success of this program, such as a reduction of over 20% of uninsured patients using hospital emergency rooms for non-critical healthcare services. 

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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 www.heart.org/sodium 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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Update to the NH CPR Training in Schools Policy Efforts

The AHA in New Hampshire supported legislation this year to add CPR compressions practice to the high school health class curriculum. While many school districts in NH offer all students hands on CPR training, most do not go beyond a basic learning about CPR as part of the First Aid component of their required health class.   Unfortunately, the bill went very quickly through the Senate Education Committee and failed to pass this year.  Over half of the United States now have in law that high school students must have CPR training, including time to practice proper chest compression skills, the most critical part of CPR for someone in cardiac arrest.  Volunteer advocates in NH will continue to press lawmakers to see the value of ensuring all high school students graduate trained in CPR and ready to save a life.  Volunteers are also continuing work at the local school district level to engage administrators in working this into policy within their health class curriculum.  You can help!  Please join the movement by visiting www.BeCPRSmart.org to learn more about the American Heart Association's CPR in Schools program.

 

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