American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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The facts are clear when it comes to the benefits of daily physical education. Kids do better academically, skip school less, and are far more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle when they become adults. So we were surprised to learn that some lawmakers want to take away the Physical Education Program (PEP) in this year’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

With one-third of our children overweight or obese, this epidemic is costing our health care system $147-$210 billion a year. Investing in our children’s health now is the only way to help cut costs down the road. That’s why we’re calling on lawmakers to provide the help that teachers and parents are looking for. The average school can only budget $764 per year for physical education, not nearly enough to provide the activity that our kids need.

Add your voice now to save these programs that have already helped hundreds of thousands of children get active. Help our kids get and stay fit, and get the well-rounded education programs that they deserve.

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National School Lunch Week

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) established new school nutrition standards in 2010. The standards added more whole grains, fruits and vegetables to school meals, while cutting excess sodium and unhealthy fats. These standards and the majority of schools who have adopted them are currently at risk.

The law that sets the standards for foods in schools is still up for consideration, and we need your support more than ever. It is vitally important that everyone in this community step up to the plate and protect the standards from the HHFKA.

National School Lunch Week is this month, from October 12th to the 16th. Remind your lawmaker that healthy meals for kids is important to you and encourage them to support healthy school meals today!

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Rally for Medical Research Recap!

Last month 25 You’re the Cure advocates traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the Rally for Medical Research. They joined nearly 300 individuals from 40 different states and the District of Columbia, who represented 125 different organizations. They spent an entire day on Capitol Hill meeting with 80 percent of the Senate offices and more than 1/3rd of the House offices to request that our elected officials provide robust, sustained, and predictable funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Also, two of our You’re the Cure advocates were featured in an inspirational video was unveiled at the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day breakfast that underscored the importance of the day. Watch it now!

Here are some of our advocates in action!


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#Back2Healthy Blows Up

As part of our ongoing Step Up to the Plate for School Meals campaign, You're the Cure and the AHA led a #Back2Healthy social media day of action on Thursday, September 3rd, to help build awareness and tell lawmakers we can't go back on strong school nutrition standards.

With thousands of participants joining in, our messages reached more than 17 million Facebook and Twitter users, and proved the large and diverse array of individuals and organizations in support of healthy school meals. Additionally, with Congress poised to return from its August recess, we were also able to share stories and photos from all the great meetings that You’re the Cure advocates held with legislators and their staff throughout the month.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the day of action and visited their lawmaker! The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has been a huge success, with 96% of schools nationwide meeting the healthier standards. And if you haven’t joined in yet, it’s not too late: click here to share a #Back2Healthy message on Facebook, and here to do so on Twitter. Every message makes a difference!

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CPR in Schools Campaign Reaches Midpoint

Just this month, North Dakota became the 25th state to require all students be trained in CPR before high school graduation. Today, New York became the 26th state to ensure their students will be CPR Smart!  Today’s vote by the New York State Education Department Board of Regents means that more than 1.5 million lifesavers will be added to our communities each year.

For the first time, we can say that more than half the high school graduates in the United States will have been trained in CPR before graduation! Congratulations and thank you for all your work to get us to this important milestone!
More than 326,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year. About 90 percent of those victims die, often because bystanders don’t know how to start CPR or are afraid they’ll do something wrong. Bystander CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. Teaching students CPR could save thousands of lives by filling our community with lifesavers – those trained to give cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive.

The American Heart Association is helping create the next Generation of Lifesavers™ by advocating for laws in every state that ensure students learn CPR before they graduate. With the help of AHA volunteers and staff, 26 states are on board. Help us bring along the others!

The power to save a life is literally in our hands. And in our kids’ hands.

To learn more about the campaign and pledge your support for CPR in Schools, visit

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The Fight for Healthy School Meals

All this month, You're the Cure advocates across the country will be meeting with their lawmakers and pushing to keep school meals healthy. This past week, a group of constituents from Congressman John Kline’s district met in Minnesota to explain why we must protect the strong nutrition standards introduced by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Four kids and their moms who live in local school districts joined the meeting, as well as a Farmington elementary school physical education teacher and tennis coach, and a mother who had all five of her kids go through school under the old, outdated standards.

Each student emphasized the importance of schools continuing to serve healthier and more nutritious meals at breakfast, lunch, and throughout the school day. Seventeen-year-old Maddie and 12-year-old Colin led the way, explaining how their school introduces new fruit and vegetable dishes that students can sample and vote on to determine which will end up on their lunch trays. Elaine Larson, who raised all five of her kids in the congressman’s district, highlighted the need for schools to educate students not just in the classroom, but by what they serve in the lunch line. Carrie-Ann shared that before her kids’ school had the healthier standards in place, she would only let them get hot lunch twice a week, since the meals that they were being served would often include an entire day's worth of fat and sodium.

Show your support for all the advocates meeting with their lawmakers this month by taking action now at By demonstrating power in numbers, we show the broad support for serving our kids healthy food now and giving them the healthy futures they deserve.

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Let's Celebrate the Last 12 Months!

The following blog post was written by the Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Health Quality, Mark Schoeberl. 

One important way the American Heart Association achieves its Mission is by advocating for laws that enable individuals to live healthier lives. It’s part of our commitment to build  a “culture of health,” which for our advocacy work translates into supporting common sense public policy that helps make the healthy choice an easy choice and where  all Americans benefit from having access to high-quality, affordable health care.

As part of this work, the American Heart Association has in the past twelve months successfully advocated for nearly 70 changes in public policy specifically designed to help Americans enjoy longer, healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. This work is never easy, and the tremendous success we have achieved this past year would simply have not been possible without the support of you, our You’re the Cure advocates.  On behalf of the entire AHA leadership and staff, I want to personally thank you for joining us as we work together to build a culture of health in your community and all communities across this great country. 

As advocates with a tendency to want to quickly move on to take on the next policy challenge and opportunity, we often fail to pause to reflect on the success we have achieved and the impact we have had through our advocacy efforts.  So with that in mind, I wanted to share some of our exciting victories:

  • More than 1 million people got health insurance coverage through expansion of the Medicaid program in, Indiana, New Hampshire, Montana and Pennsylvania.
  • Nine more states passed measures to screen infants for congenital heart defects, meaning nearly 900,000 more babies will be screened each year. The simple, inexpensive, lifesaving pulse oximetry test is now required in more than 40 states.
  • More than 16 million people have better access to safe places to exercise thanks to shared-use liability laws passing in Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia. These laws enable schools to open their facilities to people for physical activity after hours.
  • More than 4.7 million kids will get healthier foods at school, now that Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah have aligned with federal standards requiring these foods be primarily whole grains, fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein.
  • Nearly 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia now have healthier food options. The district now requires foods and beverages sold through vending machines on government property meet healthy standards.
  • More than 1.3 million students will graduate from high school with CPR skills, thanks to new laws requiring this lifesaving skill in New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Indiana, Oregon, Connecticut and San Francisco. 24 states now require CPR for high school graduation.
  • Illinois, North Carolina, the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Arizona, Kentucky, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oklahoma and, Rhode established the recognition of all three tiers of nationally certified stroke care facilities. In all of these states, EMS authorities are now required to develop and implement formal transport protocol plans for STEMI and stroke patients, respectively.
  • New Orleans banned smoking in most indoor public places, including bars, restaurants and casinos, protecting the city’s residents and millions of tourists from secondhand smoke.

We can all be extremely pleased and proud of the success we have accomplished over the last year and the lives we have impacted through our work.  Thank you again for all of your time, commitment and energy that has made this possible.

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Women Deserve Equality in Health Too!

Did you know most medical research done today is still conducted using only male subjects? That means lots of unanswered questions when it comes to the best treatment for women with heart disease. Well now lawmakers are working to fix the problem by proposing a law requiring all National Institutes of Health basic research to include female subjects. To grow support for the proposal lawmakers need to hear from you asking for support of the Research for All Act. The next time a friend or loved one faces a diagnosis of heart disease we want to be sure she has the best possible treatment no matter her gender. So please take a minute and send your message to lawmakers now.

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Tobacco's Latest Threat: E-Cigarettes

Tobacco Companies are aggressively marketing e-cigarettes to our nation's youth, and it's working. With thousands of flavors like cotton candy, Swedish fish and gummi bears, it's no wonder e-cigarette use among young people has tripled. The American Heart Association and its partners are working hard to bring this problem under control.

Find citations here.

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