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NJ You're the Cure Advocates Visit NJ State House

On June 18, over 20 advocates from the American Heart Association, YMCA State Alliance and The Food Trust gathered at the New Jersey State House in Trenton to celebrate the introduction of the Healthy Small Food Retailer Act (S3043/A4505).

The bill is being sponsored by Senator Ron Rice and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez in the Senate and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia, Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, Assemblyman Daniel Benson and Assemblyman Gilbert Wilson. It would provide state support to the NJ Healthy Corner Stores Initiative. The program has been operating on the local level for several years and provides training, education and resources to small stores that agree to offer healthier products to their customers.

The event at the State House included a press conference with Assemblymen Wimberly and Diegnan to announce the introduction of the bill and highlight the benefits. Advocates then received training on the issue and were able to talk to several other legislators throughout the day.

To learn more about the NJ Healthy Corner Store Initiative or to get involved, please visit the website at njhealthycornerstores.heart.org!

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Summer Health Tips

The arrival of summer means days at the pool, family barbeques, picnics, sports and other outdoor activities. Below are a few tips that you can use this summer to keep your whole family happy and healthy.

 

 

Staying active in the summer months

  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and even after physical activity.
  • Protect your family from the sun.
  • Try to avoid intense physical activity during the hottest parts of the day (between noon to 3pm).
  • Dress for the heat.
  • Head indoors when the heat becomes unbearable. There are plenty of indoor activities that can keep you active on the hottest days.

Heart-Healthy Cookout Ideas

  • Go fish!
  • Make a better burger by purchasing leaner meat and adding delicious veggies.
  • Replace your traditional greasy fries with some heart healthy baked fries.
  • Veggie kabobs are a fun and healthy addition to your family barbeque.
  • Try grilled corn on the cob.

Healthy Road Trip

  • Make “rest breaks” active.
  • Pack healthy snacks to avoid the unhealthy foods at rest stops along your way.
  • Pack to play to continue your regular physical activity.
  • Reach for water instead of being tempted by sugary drinks.

Summer Snack Ideas

  • Homemade freezer fruit pops are an easy and fun treat for the whole family.
  • Keep your veggies cool and crisp during the summer months and they becoming a refreshing treat.
  • Fruit smoothies area a healthy way to cool yourself down on a hot summer day.
  • Mix up your own trail mix to take on all of your summer adventures.
  • Just slice and serve all the delicious fruits that are in season during the summer months.

 

Read more about these tips and other getting healthy tips over at www.heart.org/GettingHealthy 

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Liz Seth, New Jersey

A former athlete, Liz Seth was diagnosed with heart block in her twenties and had a pacemaker implanted—but that didn’t slow her down! Since then she has given birth to twin boys, traveled the world, and recently joined the American Heart Association in Washington, DC to participate in her first "You’re the Cure on the Hill" lobby day. Liz jokes with her boys that she is the Bionic Woman, and after undergoing an ablation procedure last year to correct atrial flutter, Liz has renewed energy to continue advocating on behalf of AHA.

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NJ Leaders Tour Healthy Corner Stores

Throughout the months of April and May, the American Heart Association and several of our partner organizations have been touring corner stores throughout the Garden State to educate lawmakers and others in the community about the NJ Healthy Corner Store Initiative.

In April and May we visited several markets in Camden, Newark and Vineland. Senator Rice, Assemblymen Greenwald, Fuentes and Wilson, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Mayor Dana Redd and Mayor Ruben Bermudez all joined us at one of the visits to hear from the store owners about how participating in the NJ Healthy Corner Store Initiative has impacted their businesses. The visitors also toured the stores to see the selection of healthy products that were stocked.

The NJ Healthy Corner Store Initiative is an effort to work with corner store owners to help them offer healthier options in their store. Businesses that join the network have access to training, educational and marketing materials and other resources to help them successfully offer healthy products, especially in communities that lack access to supermarkets. Currently approximately 80 stores are enrolled throughout the state, but that number is on track to increase to about 150 by the end of 2015. We hope to expand the program to accommodate all stores that want to attend.

We thank that elected officials that attended one of the site visits for their interest in healthy food access and for taking the time from their day to learn more about the NJ Healthy Corner Stores Initiative.

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How to Keep the Winning Game Going

You're the Cure on the Hill isn’t the only opportunity to connect with members of Congress! As their constituents, you have the power and the RIGHT to tell them at any time to step up to the plate on the heart and stroke issues you care about most.


Here are some tips for getting your lawmaker off the bench and into the game:

 

  • Follow them on social media and send them messages on issues you care about.
  • Sign up for their e-newsletters on their websites. This is a great way to learn about events where you can meet the lawmakers in person and stay informed.
  • Work with your local AHA advocacy staff to schedule an in-district meeting. Members of Congress come home throughout the year on recess breaks, so they use this time to meet with constituents back in the district. Take advantage of their time at home and schedule a meeting to discuss the heart and stroke issues that matter to you and your family.
  • Most importantly, take action year round. Watch your inbox for calls to action from You’re the Cure and continue engaging your lawmaker through emails, phone calls and tagging them in your social media posts.

We had a real impact this week, but we need to keep the momentum going. Let's keep reminding our members of Congress that they need to step up for heart health all year round!

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May is American Stroke Month

Anyone can have a stroke and everyone should be ready.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke and every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke. That is why The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is inviting all Americans to become Stroke Heroes by learning and sharing the warning signs of stroke, F.A.ST. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Recognizing and responding to a stroke emergency immediately can lead to quick stroke treatment and may even save a life. Be ready!

Here is how you can participate in American Stroke Month

  • Share the F.A.S.T. acronym with your friends, family and loved ones throughout American Stroke Month.
  • Share our F.A.S.T. Quiz to test your stroke knowledge.
  • Download our free Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. mobile app to prepare you in case of a stroke emergency and to have easy access.

Go to StrokeAssociation.org/StrokeMonth to learn more about how you can get involved.

 

 

 

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From the Bottom of our Hearts - Thank You!

National Volunteer Week (April 12-18) is right around the corner and we couldn’t let it pass without saying how much we appreciate all your contributions as a You’re the Cure advocate. It’s advocates like you who give their time, energy, and passion to help create healthier communities across the country.  We are deeply grateful for your commitment and talent as an advocate.

Since staff can’t always shake your hand and say thank you in person we’ve got a brief video to share. When you watch I am sure you too will be moved by all the great work happening in your states and communities and we look forward to more success in the future. Take a moment to check out the video and then encourage other to get involved and join in the fun.

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Just around the Corner

Over the past several years, there have been local efforts in communities throughout the state to improve access to healthy food in communities where supermarkets and grocery stores are scarce. The American Heart Association is working with our partners at The Food Trust, Partnership for Healthy Kids and other organizations to create a statewide network of healthy corner stores in communities where it is sometimes difficult to find healthy food options.

In March, The Food Trust hosted a training for partners that are working to bring healthy corner stores to their communities. The training provided helpful resources and tips for working with corner stores and shared best practices.

The American Heart Association has been advocating for funding for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative to make healthy food accessible in every area of the Garden State. I am looking forward to continuing to work with you, our advocates, to continue these efforts in the coming months.

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Bill Duncan of Manalapan, NJ

Bill Duncan is a longtime volunteer with various hunger organizations in New Jersey. He regularly volunteers at a local soup kitchen and is a volunteer and board member with a food pantry in his hometown of Manalapan.

After undergoing triple bypass surgery last year, Bill wanted to expand his volunteer activities to include the American Heart Association. He read about the current efforts in New Jersey to expand Healthy Corner Store programs in the state that improve food access in underserved communities. This campaign allows him to combine his interest in ending hunger with efforts to decrease heart disease risk in our most vulnerable communities.

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Help secure funding for this life-saving AED program today!

This is a critical time in Congress. Lawmakers are deciding on their funding priorities and the next round of budget negotiations are beginning. Even in this difficult economy, there are several federally-funded programs that are vital to the heart community, and we need to let our lawmakers know they must be a priority.

One such program helps buy and place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in rural communities. The program also trains first responders and others in the community to use and operate these devices. The Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Program ensures those who live in rural areas or small towns have access to the tools they need for the best chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, the program currently only has the resources to operate in 12 states.

Please contact your lawmaker today and ask them to prioritize funding to save lives from cardiac arrest!

People in every state should be given the best shot at surviving a cardiac arrest. Communities with aggressive AED placements have increased survival rates from about 11% to nearly 40%, which is an incredible improvement. But 38 states are still waiting for funds for this life-saving program.

Deadlines in Congress are looming, so please contact your elected officials TODAY!

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