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August Recess in Mississippi

This year we had three Mississippi volunteer advocates make August recess visits with either their U.S. Congressman, Representative or Senator.  These scheduled meetings were held to discuss the four most important federal advocacy priorities of the American Heart Association including: Child Nutrition Reauthorization, Cardiac Rehabilitation, the F.A.S.T. Act and National Institutes of Health Funding.

Claire Hick of Hernando spoke with Representative Trent Kelly and Field Director, Walt Starr, about Cardiac Rehab and the F.A.S.T. Act.  "I was able to speak firsthand about how this type of legislation has helped and will hopefully continue to support my hospital system do a better job of taking care of patients and making adults and children in the community healthier. It was a productive meeting, and I'm thankful to be given the opportunity to advocate on these important issues for my community and state."

Ollie Galloway of Jackson met with the office of Senator Thad Cochran about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization.  She had the opportunity to meet and share the 'why' behind this Senate Child Nutrition bill that will help children achieve better long-term health and academic success. 

 Sherri Bevis of Diamondhead met with the office of Congressman Steve Palazzo to discuss Child Nutrition Reauthorization. 

Thank you to these wonderful volunteers advocates who made time to advocate for these key issues in Mississippi. We will continue to reach out to our elected representatives to make sure they continue to prioritize and support healthy initiatives, locally, across the state, and nation. 

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Utah Our Children Are Sweet Enough

Guest Bloggers: Marc Watterson & Kami Sutton

As adults, we are responsible for ensuring our children and families grow up happy and healthy. Recently, the American Heart Association came out with its first ever scientific statement in regards to the maximum amount of added sugar children should consume.

Based on research the AHA believes children should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of “added sugars” a day. These added sugars can come in many forms and are often added to foods in addition to the naturally occurring sugars (ever looked at the ingredients of a loaf of bread to see how much sugar it contained?). Along with the limits on added sugars in food it is recommended that children consume no more than 8 ounces of sugary beverages a week. This may include soda, fruit juices with added sugar and sports drinks.

These limits are important as we work to minimize a child’s risk of diseases such as obesity and diabetes that can lead to even more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease. If started early, parents can help shape a child’s taste preferences to last into their adult years when they are making the decisions for themselves and their own families in the future.

What’s most important is that we take the time to model for our children and others what healthy living is all about. For better or for worse, children take their cues from the adults around them. If mom and dad love soda, chances are children are going to want a taste as well!

This announcement from the AHA comes on the heels of cities such as Berkeley, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania passing legislation that will assess a tax on the sale of sugary drinks.  Berkeley has already seen a 21 percent decrease in consumption of sugary beverages in low-income neighborhoods since the implementation of the fee.

This new research confirms what we have long thought, children are sweet enough as they are, they don’t need added sugar in their diets J

If you would like more information about the AHA’s new science guidelines on children and sugar please visit: http://news.heart.org/kids-and-added-sugars-how-much-is-too-much/

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Our Keiki Are Sweet Enough

Guest Blogger: Don Weisman

As adults, we are responsible for making sure our keiki have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives. Recently, the American Heart Association came out with its first ever scientific statement in regards to the amount of added sugar children should consume.

Based on research the AHA believes children should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of “added sugars” a day. These added sugars can come in many forms and are often added to foods in addition to the naturally occurring sugars. Along with the limits on added sugars in food it is recommended that children consume no more than 8 ounces of sugary beverages a week. This can include soda, fruit juices with added sugar and sports drinks.

These limits are important as we work to minimize a child’s risk of conditions such as obesity and diabetes that can lead to cardiovascular disease. If started early, parents can help train a child’s taste-buds and food preferences to last into their adult years when they are making the decisions for themselves and their own families.

This announcement comes on the heels of cities such as Berkeley, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania passing legislation that will assess a fee on to the sale of sugary beverages. Berkeley has already seen a 21 percent decrease in consumption of sugary beverages in low-income neighborhoods since the implementation of the fee.

Along with the sugary beverage fee, we hope to see Hawaii make water or milk the default choices in children’s meal options at local restaurants instead of sugary drinks. The shift away from a child receiving a soda as the default option will allow parents to teach their children what healthy drink choices are available to them.

We hope we can count on your support as we work to pass some of these policies in Hawaii. After all we believe our keiki are sweet enough as they are.

If you would like more information about the AHA’s new science guidelines on children and sugar please visit: http://news.heart.org/kids-and-added-sugars-how-much-is-too-much/

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3 Montana Schools Commit to Pilot Increased PE

Guest Blogger: Amanda Cahill

If you live in Great Falls, Bozeman, or Frenchtown Montana, there’s a chance that your child is seeing a much-needed increase in physical education (PE) time.  That’s because three Montana schools; Sunnyside Elementary (Great Falls), Hawthorne Elementary (Bozeman) and Frenchtown Elementary, have chosen to pilot a program where they offer 150 minutes of PE to students every week.  150 minutes is the amount of physical activity recommended by the World Health Organization, the American Heart Association, and The Centers for Disease Control, among others.  The reasons are both simple and impactful:

  • When students get more time for PE they do better physically, mentally and emotionally which is good for kids and good for schools.

  • PE classes teach lifelong healthy habits that will help children grow up into healthier adults with less risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

  • We have a responsibility to provide our kids with a truly well-rounded education. And that includes effective PE with trained and certified teachers who incorporate moderate to vigorous physical activity.

  • Active kids learn better. When kids are active, they focus more, think more clearly, react to stress more calmly, and perform and behave better in class. That means higher test scores across the board.

More than 28% of Montana children are overweight or obese.  Those who are overweight as children are much more likely to be overweight as adults and to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  We applaud these three schools for taking steps to build a healthier generation of kids. 

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Sugar and Our Children

The American Heart Association recently came out with its first ever scientific statement regarding the amount of added sugar children should consume.

 

Based on research the AHA believes children should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of “added sugars” a day. These added sugars can come in many forms and are often added to foods in addition to the naturally occurring sugars. Along with the limits on added sugars in food it is recommended that children consume no more than 8 ounces of sugary beverages a week. This includes soda, fruit juices with added sugar, energy drinks any beverage with added sugars a limited nutritional content.

 

These limits are important as we work to minimize a child’s risk of conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes that can lead to increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. If started early, parents can help train a child’s taste-buds and food preferences to last into their adult years when they are making the decisions for themselves and their own families in the future.

 

This announcement comes on the heels of cities such as Berkeley and Philadelphia passing legislation that will tax the sale of sugary beverages. Berkeley has already reported a shift away from these sugar filled drinks in some of their low-income neighborhoods due to the increase in price. Raising awareness about the health effects of regular sugary drink consumption and the ties to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease be a priority across the nation in the future.

 

Along with the soda taxes, we hope to see all states shift to make water the default choice in children’s meal options at local restaurants instead of sugary drinks. The shift away from a child receiving a soda as the default option will make the healthy choice the easy choice.

 

We hope we can count on your support as we work to pass some of these obesity prevention policies in the future.

 

If you would like more information about the AHA’s new science guidelines on children and sugar please visit: http://news.heart.org/kids-and-added-sugars-how-much-is-too-much/

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The Fight Continues

As we prepare for the 2017 Idaho legislative session, we will continue our work to close the healthcare coverage gap in our state. If you would like to re-read the details from last year’s efforts you can do so here.

With the help of volunteers like you we made real progress during the 2016 session and we are prepared to continue this important fight in 2017.

During this interim period between sessions a bi-partisan work group has been appointed by the Speaker of the House to continue working on this issue to find resolution for the Idahoans without health insurance. Lawmakers don’t all agree on the solution but most agree it is a problem that 78,000 Idahoans don’t have access to affordable healthcare.

There have been work group meetings on the issue and we have been at each and every one of them fighting for our fellow Idahoans. The next Health Care Alternatives Workgroup meeting is September 28th at the Idaho Statehouse. This will be the first meeting where they will be taking public comment, and if you are interested in speaking to the committee, this is your opportunity to have your voice heard. If you are not in the area, or unavailable to attend the meeting, please sign the petition in support of closing the gap, or send an email to your Legislators, if you haven’t done so already. Your representatives need to hear from you; every voice matters.

While the next legislative session doesn't begin until January, it is crucial that lawmakers know that their constituents are thinking about this issue now, and that they want to see the healthcare coverage gap closed. If you have a story you would like to share or are interested in coming to the Capitol for a future hearing please contact Erin Bennett.

With your help we hope that the 2017 legislative session will be the one where we secure access to affordable health care for the 78,000 hard working Idahoans who earn too much to enroll in traditional Medicaid but too little to qualify for assistance on Idaho’s insurance exchange. A full healthcare solution is better for all Idahoans.

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Improving Lives through Advocacy

The American Heart Association saves and improves lives by advocating for laws that help people live healthy. It's part of our effort to build a "culture of health," in which we create environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.

Here's a look at some of the exciting victories from the past year: (You can click on the document below to view a larger version for easier reading.)

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Yes on 56 Campaign Update and Next Steps

Smoking is a costly and deadly habit, and the number one cause of preventable death in California – killing 40,000 Californians annually. California taxpayers pay $3.5 billion dollars annually on treating tobacco-related diseases including heart disease, stroke, cancer and tobacco-related chronic conditions.

In addition to the fiscal toll, nearly 17,000 California kids get hooked on smoking every year and one-third of them will eventually die from tobacco-related illnesses. We have an opportunity to reduce the death and disability caused by tobacco addiction this November...your voice matters…make it heard…. vote YES on 56!

 

We know that higher tobacco taxes reduce teen smoking and will help current smokers quit. You’ll recall reading stories like the one about Cindy in Nevada, yet California has not raised its tobacco tax in over 25 years. Thankfully, Prop 56 can help prevent a new generation of kids from taking up a deadly and addictive habit, help offset the tremendous financial toll tobacco use places on our state, and will help fund research to discover new treatments to reduce the cost of treating tobacco-related illnesses. 

 

Simply put, Prop 56 will save lives!

 

While we know an overwhelming majority Californian’s support this initiative, we need your support to pass Prop 56.  Back in 2012, we lost a similar campaign by less than 1 percent and we don’t want history to repeat itself. 

 

Want to get in the game? Here’s a few easy ways you can make a difference:

  1. Sign up on the coalition website so that you will receive the latest campaign updates.
  2. Volunteer! We have a plethora of volunteer opportunities including reaching out directly to California voters by phone banking, recruiting your friends to join the campaign, attending events, and many other opportunities. To find out what volunteer opportunity works best you, contact me at Josh.Brown@heart.org.
  3. If you are active on Social Media, please visit your local AHA Division accounts regularly to find messages to share with your friends and followers (and ask them to share the messaging with their fans). There are 17 statewide ballot initiatives that will be voted on in November and we really need your support to spread the word to your social network. You will also find messaging on the Yes on 56 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
  4. Share your story along with a photo and a brief reason by you support Yes on 56 so that we can share your story to motivate other advocates across the state.
  5. Take posters and other campaign materials to locations such as your doctor’s office, hairdresser, etc. Materials are available online at here.
  6. Most importantly, if you haven’t yet, register to vote and find your local polling location so that you are ready to vote with your Heart on November 8th!

 

If you would like to get involved in other ways or have any questions, please contact me at Josh.Brown@heart.org.

 

With your continued support, 2016 is truly going to be a year for the history books! 

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Angry Birds, Happy Bodies

By Guest Blogger: Sumayya Aasi, AHA volunteer

 

While many children got up early to head to their first day of school on August 16, 2016, other young children were part of the “Angry Birds, Happy Bodies” event at the Adventure Plex in Manhattan Beach to highlight physical activity and the importance of physical education (PE). The “Angry Birds, Happy Bodies’” event was jam packed with enthusiastic kids and parents ready to work out and meet two time Olympian Swimmer Chloe Sutton in support of #PROTECTPE.

 

Before the film began, our Advocacy volunteers spoke with the children and parents about the importance of PE in schools. Those in attendance held “I <3 PE” signs to encourage them to take action on their social media platforms to ensure that states include PE while they develop their plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act.

 

Chloe Sutton, two-time Olympic swimmer, spoke to the young audience about the importance of staying active through activities such as jump roping, swimming and PE. Before the conclusion of the event, participants were asked to make a pledge to stay active and #PROTECTPE.

 

We are so thankful to Sony Pictures for the opportunity to partner. Join the PE in action team here and share you “1 <3 PE” photos here!

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Meet Kathy Godsey

Kathy Godsey lost her husband to a heart attack, and after becoming reclusive and sedentary following that life event, she recognized her need to become more physically and socially active. To meet new friends and exercise, Kathy began to participate in charity walks.  When she discovered the Anchorage Heart Walk, she felt a special connection because of her husband’s illness and the “good work that the American Heart Association does.”

 

Godsey now walks year round, having participated in close to 70 charity walks, and has organized a group of co-workers to walk together for exercise. She was also awarded the AHA’s Alaska Division Lifestyle Change Award in 2015. Kathy is an amazing advocate who’s willing talk about her life changing experiences, why the Heart Walk is close to her heart, and how participating in the event is helping her to overcome her loss.

 

Thanks Kathy for your inspiring dedication towards living an active lifestyle and support of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association!

 

If you would like take a step towards a healthier lifestyle, please visit the Anchorage Heart Walk site here and learn how you can participate with Kathy in support of the AHA's efforts to improve health in Alaska. 

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