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Three to Watch for in 2016

With lawmakers back in Washington, we’ll be watching and working on three key issues to help improve the heart and brain health of every American:

• Healthy school meals. As negotiations on a child nutrition bill get closer to the finish line, we’re enormously grateful to the tens of thousands of You’re the Cure advocates who have stood up to urge lawmakers to keep school nutrition standards strong. Since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed in 2010, our kids are getting healthier meals, which have been shown to help improve academic performance and teach students the healthy habits they need to succeed. To learn more about the importance of keeping school food healthy, watch (and share!) a video we recently posted here.

• National Institutes of Health funding. With Congress passing an additional $2 billion in NIH funding at the end of last year, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the impact You’re the Cure advocates had on this critical issue. Hundreds visited Washington to share their stories and push for life-saving research funding, with tens of thousands more weighing in with e-mails to lawmakers and petition signatures. But it’s also critical that we continue the fight: as this video demonstrates, the money we devote to heart and stroke research has led to some of the most important medical innovations of the past few decades, from blood pressure pills to automatic external defibrillators.  

• Access to telestroke care. The Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act is gaining co-sponsors quickly, with more and more lawmakers realizing that increasing telestroke access is vital to reducing stroke fatalities. Doing so will allow doctors to diagnose patients and prescribe the care they need, all with hundreds of miles separating the two. Stay tuned for updates on the You’re the Cure advocates from across the country who will be in Washington on March 1st, urging lawmakers to pledge their support for the FAST Act.

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You're the Cure Advocates' New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year when we all make resolutions to get healthy, and for many of us, eating better is on the top of our list. As you plan healthier meals for your families, don’t forget the importance of the healthy meals your kids should be eating at school each day.

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 at risk.

The law that sets the standards for foods in schools is up for consideration, and we need your support more than ever. So step up to the plate and help to protect the standards from the HHFKA.

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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Real People, Real Stories, Real Coverage

Are you covered?

It’s a question we’ve been asking the past couple years, and with another Open Enrollment season upon us, now is the perfect time to either get or find different health coverage before January 31, 2016. Our Hearts for Health Care website can help you track down all the resources and information you need to make the best choice for you and your family.

For those who have suffered from heart disease and stroke, access to quality and affordable health care is critical. Whether you’re looking to learn more about the dangers of cardiovascular disease for those without coverage, or seeking answers about how to find the best plan for you, Hearts for Health Care is your one-stop shop.

Finally, for those with coverage, it’s more important than ever that we spread the word about Open Enrollment and why getting and staying covered is essential to ideal heart-health. Check out our Covering All Americans toolkit, and share our infographics and resources with family and friends. Together, we can ensure that every American has the coverage they need to live a long, healthy life.

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Let's Toast to a Successful 2015

Thanks to You’re the Cure advocates across the country, 2015 was a banner year in our goal to end heart disease and stroke. As we toast to 2016, let’s take a look back at everything we've accomplished together in the past 12 months.

Here are just a few of the highlights! Let's start with victories at the state and local level:

  • Almost a half- million people gained access to health insurance coverage through the expansion of the Medicaid program in Indiana, New Hampshire, Montana, and Alaska.
  • Ten more states passed measures to screen infants for congenital heart defects, meaning over 500,000 more babies will be screened each year. The simple, inexpensive, lifesaving pulse oximetry test is now required in more than 40 states.
  • More than 1.6 million students will graduate from high school with CPR skills each year, thanks to new laws requiring this lifesaving skill in New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Indiana, Oregon, Connecticut, San Francisco, North Dakota, New York and Illinois.
  • The City of New Orleans went smokefree.
  • Any many more…

In Washington, DC, we've made great strides to improve the heart health of all Americans, including:

  • Successfully protecting standards for healthy school meals.
  • The passage of the Every Child Achieves Act, which will ensure schools can provide the robust physical education programs our kids need.
  • Gaining over 40 cosponsors for the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act.

Also, let's not forget that over 350 You’re the Cure advocates traveled to Washington D.C. in the spring and asked their lawmakers to protect healthy school meals and increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

We couldn’t achieve these great accomplishments without the power of YOU, our advocates. Your work to educate lawmakers, recruit family and friends, and share your story and expertise are what makes change happen. So from your AHA staff partners a big, Thank You!

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#KeepKidsFit

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! http://www.agingresearch.org/rally

Here are some of our advocates in action!

          

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