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Rhode Island Senate to Vote on School Marketing Bill

Great news!  On March 25, the Senate Education Committee voted to recommend passage of our bill that would prohibit unhealthy food and beverage advertising in Rhode Island schools.  A vote before the full Senate is expected soon.

National, state, and local efforts have greatly improved the nutritional quality of foods served in our schools, but some schools still allow the advertising of foods high in calories, fat, and sugar. You might assume that since it can’t be served in school it can’t be advertised there, but companies have found the loophole and we need to close it. Schools should be a safe and nurturing environment – we need to make sure our kids don’t get bombarded by ads trying to make them lifelong customers of fast food or soda companies.

We’re almost there Rhode Island!  According to a recent report, more than 80% of Rhode Island middle schools and high schools already prohibit unhealthy food and beverage advertisements in school buildings, on school grounds, on school buses and in school publications.  Let’s get to 100% and ensure a healthy school environment for all Rhode Island students. 

Be on the lookout for more action alerts on this important issue as it moves through the legislative process!

 

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Rhode Island House Committee Considers Funding CPR in Schools

On March 18, Dr. Brian Silver, President of the American Heart Association’s Rhode Island Board of Directors, asked the House Finance Committee to include funding in the FY 2016 Budget to purchase new CPR manikins for all public high schools in the Ocean State.  Dr. Silver noted in his testimony that the relatively small amount of funding requested could go a long way toward helping schools implement the 2013 CPR in Schools Law.      

The CPR in Schools Law requires high school students to receive hands-on CPR training and an overview of automated external defibrillator (AED) use prior to graduation as part of the health education curriculum.  While there are many ways this can be accomplished, providing purpose-built CPR manikins will help ensure quality training for all students.     

Right now, approximately 90 percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest do not survive – most die because they do not receive bystander CPR.  The death rate is staggering and tragic.  With your help, we are going to change that in Rhode Island by creating a generation of lifesavers and heroes.  CPR is one of life’s critical lessons – let’s make sure our students are as prepared as possible to save a life.  

Click the following link to ask our state leaders to include funding in the FY 2016 Budget for CPR in Schools: https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=36483 

Many thanks to Dr. Silver for testifying on this important issue!

 

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Teen Zombies, Rhode Island

More than 200 teens from across Rhode Island marched on the State House as part of the 2015 Zombie Walk for Kick Butts Day on March 18th. They carried the message that tobacco and nicotine use is not for them - and Big Tobacco can't sway their choice to choose health!  A smaller group of teens met directly with legislators in a youth-legislator roundtable discussion at the State House, hosted by Rep. Art Handy. They shared their message about teen tobacco use and legislators shared with them how important their voice is in the fight for a tobacco free Rhode Island.

Many thanks to Karina Wood, Director of Tobacco Free Rhode Island, for organizing this great event – and to all the local substance abuse prevention task forces and coalitions that took part and arranged for high school students from their communities to participate.  But most of all – thanks to the teen zombies for taking a stand against Big Tobacco! 

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Sara Bonneau, Rhode Island

We recently had the pleasure of meeting Sara Bonneau, an amazing mom who is working with her legislators to make sure that all Rhode Island high schools and middle schools have functioning AEDs – and that an AED is present on athletic fields during school sporting events.  On February 25, Sara testified at the State House for the first time sharing her personal story with the House Heath, Education and Welfare Committee.  Here’s what she said.

Sara’s testimony:

My name is Sara Bonneau, I am from Barrington, RI.  I have been married to a born and raised Rhode Islander for 17 years and I am the mother of three boys, Nick 14, Ryan 12 and Sean 9.  I have lived in Rhode Island for 12 years.  In 2002 when our son Ryan had the first of 2 open heart surgeries I had to literally hand him over to a team of surgeons who would save his life.  In 2011 I had to do it again for his second lifesaving open heart surgery.  Ryan is now a healthy (knock on wood) 12 year old that plays basketball for Barrington Middle School and hopefully God willing will compete at the high school level. 

This December, for the first time since 2011 I had to “hand” Ryan over again.  This time not to surgeons, but to various communities in Rhode Island that he and his team competed against who were not equipped with an AED or Automated External Defibrillator.  As a current teacher in Massachusetts I was shocked!  I thought every school was required to have a functioning AED.  After reaching out to State Representative Jan Malik, I learned that sadly, this was not a requirement in Rhode Island.  They are only required in health clubs and nursing homes. 

Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in athletes.  This past December, a 15 year old Rhode Island boy died from sudden cardiac arrest at a basketball practice at Rogers High School in Newport.  The tragic sudden cardiac death of Lincoln’s 15 year old Michael Monteleone in 2005 inspired his family to create the Michael Monteleone Memorial Fund which has raised over $350,000 and since his death has donated 159 AEDs to over 56 high schools and 40 middle schools in Rhode Island.  Tragically many of these devices are sitting unused in various storage and equipment closets and are not maintained or working properly. 

If we can save one child who will not die from an undiagnosed heart condition and sudden cardiac death in Rhode Island I believe it is worth it.  I know many Rhode Islanders who agree.  I plead to you today to make it a law and keep our children safe.

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House Committee Holds Hearing on Rhode Island School Marketing Bill

The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) recently heard testimony on legislation that would eliminate unhealthy food and beverage marketing in Rhode Island schools.  The bill, introduced by HEW Committee Chairman Joe McNamara, is one of our top priorities for the 2015 Legislative Session. 

Many thanks to RI Advocacy Committee Chairman Dr. Steven Fera and RI Advocacy Committee member Laurie Stephenson for testifying at the hearing!  We are happy to report that there was no vocal opposition to the bill and committee members seemed generally supportive.  The next step – we are urging the committee to recommend passage of this important measure and move it to the House floor for a vote!  A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Susan Sosnowski – we are also awaiting a hearing before the Senate Education Committee.

Background:

While national, state, and local efforts have improved the nutritional quality of foods provided and sold in schools, some schools still permit the marketing of foods high in calories, fat, and sugar and of minimal nutritional value. That marketing includes sales, free samples, and advertising of unhealthy foods; corporate-sponsored fundraising programs which encourage students and their families to sell, purchase, and consume foods and beverages with little nutritional value; incentive programs, which reward children with free or discounted foods or beverages when they reach certain academic goals; sponsorship of school programs or events; and branded educational materials.

Permitting the advertising of foods and beverages at schools that may not be sold there interferes with school messages promoting good health and academic success. If children are taught through school health and nutrition curriculum to limit their intake of these foods and at the same time the foods are promoted by school-based advertising and marketing, the lessons of school health and nutrition curricula are undermined. The marketing also undermines parents’ efforts to feed their children a healthy diet.

The good news – according to a recent report, most Rhode Island middle schools and high schools already prohibit unhealthy food and beverage advertisements in school buildings (89%), on school grounds (88%), on school buses (84%), and in school publications (83%).  Let’s get to 100% Rhode Island!

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Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo Speaks at Go Red for Women Luncheon

The American Heart Association was thrilled that Governor Gina Raimondo could join us for the recent Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Rhode Island Convention Center.  Nearly 600 women and men dressed in red to help raise awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of women.  Governor Raimondo’s remarks were the perfect kick-off for the event – and she even took some extra time to pose for photos with some of our young guests!

Click the following link to view Governor Raimondo's remarks: http://youtu.be/QyZBMef9E54

Below, Advocate and American Heart Association National Go Red For Women Spokeswoman, Lisa Deck and daughter Kaitlyn, had the pleasure of meeting Governor Raimondo during the luncheon program. Lisa and Kaitlyn presented her with flowers to thank her for her attendance and for speaking about the importance of heart-healthy lifestyle and funding lifesaving research.

 Governor Raimondo with 11 year old Megan Dickerman, congenital heart disease survivor. Megan was featured during the speaking program with her father, Daniel who was also born with the very same heart defect.

Governor Raimondo with 10 year old Gustavo Londono. Gustavo’s Nana, Debra Koziol is one of the American Heart Association’s National Go Red For Women Spokeswoman after suffering sudden cardiac arrest in her home about 7 years ago. Gustavo was there that night and recalls how quickly his Papa called 911 and performed CPR to save her life. Gustavo shared with the audience his inspirational message to live a healthier life and to keep your heart strong.

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Help Eliminate Unhealthy Food and Beverage Advertising in Rhode Island Schools

One of the American Heart Association’s top priorities for the 2015 Legislative Session will be eliminating unhealthy food and beverage advertising/marketing in schools.  The good news – according to a recent report, most Rhode Island middle schools and high schools already prohibit unhealthy food and beverage advertisements in school buildings (89%), on school grounds (88%), on school buses (84%), and in school publications (83%).  Let’s get to 100% Rhode Island!

While national, state, and local efforts have improved the nutritional quality of foods provided and sold in schools, some schools still permit the marketing of foods high in calories, fat, and sugar and of minimal nutritional value. That marketing includes sales, free samples, and advertising of unhealthy foods; corporate-sponsored fundraising programs which encourage students and their families to sell, purchase, and consume foods and beverages with little nutritional value; incentive programs, which reward children with free or discounted foods or beverages when they reach certain academic goals; sponsorship of school programs or events; and branded educational materials.

Permitting the advertising of foods and beverages at schools that may not be sold there interferes with school messages promoting good health and academic success. If children are taught through school health and nutrition curriculum to limit their intake of these foods and at the same time the foods are promoted by school-based advertising and marketing, the lessons of school health and nutrition curricula are undermined. The marketing also undermines parents’ efforts to feed their children a healthy diet.

Urge your representative to cosponsor legislation that would eliminate unhealthy food and beverage marketing in RI schools!  

Click the following link to take action today:  https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=36110

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Lisa Deck, Rhode Island

We are very excited to share that Rhode Island Advocacy Committee member and stroke survivor Lisa Deck was recently selected to serve as a National Go Red for Women Spokesperson!  Congratulations Lisa and thank you for all that you do!

Click the following links to see our new Go Red for Women public service announcements featuring Lisa and other survivors from across the country:

2014-2015 Go Red Real Women | Go Red For Women®

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtgEOKZbJLw

2014-2015 Go Red Real Women | Go Red For Women® | Advocacy and Research Stories

http://youtu.be/AFbGu7bOud4

 

We asked Lisa why being a You’re the Cure advocate is so important to her, and she responded “KAITLYN AND ZACK ARE WHY.”  Here is her story:

I was a healthy 21- year-old college student when I suffered a stroke. A week before graduation, I developed a terrible headache and had all the typical signs of stroke- left sided numbness, confusion, speech difficulty. The first hospital quickly dismissed me as having a migraine. I finally went to another ER, where it was determined that I had suffered a stroke.

I was shocked, but also in denial — I was young and still felt invincible. I didn't know that strokes don't discriminate. I was diagnosed with a rare brain disease and have had two more strokes. I have been through years of treacherous treatments, numerous medications, many hospital stays, and suffered horrible side effects.

My strokes took away my initial life goals but taught me to rely on my inner strength. I've become a dedicated American Heart Association volunteer and advocate – starting with a fundraising dinner making over $12,000 and walking a half marathon. I've participated in hundreds of events over the past thirteen years: I developed an annual survivor luncheon to help others connect, attended rallies, Lobby Days, Congressional hearings, Go Red luncheons, fashion shows, races, conferences and networking events. This year, I have been selected as a Go Red for Women Real Women and have learned that I can make a difference as a National Spokesperson. I'm educating and empowering others through my Facebook page: ISurvivor Lisa Deck.

I am married to an awesome husband and despite all my medical challenges, we have created an amazing family. I'm the proud mom of two awesome children. Kaitlyn & Zack are my Why.

I will forever be a stroke survivor under the care of physicians but I am lucky to have thrived personally since my stroke. I will forever be under doctor's care and must maintain a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. I'm blessed to be alive and fortunate to be able to make a difference in the lives of others. 

 

 

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Rhode Island Receives "F" Grade for Tobacco Prevention

The American Lung Association recently released its annual 2015 State of Tobacco Control Report, evaluating all 50 states on their effectiveness in protecting the public from tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death.

Did Rhode Island make the grade?  In some areas, yes.  In others, NO!

Rhode Island received the following grades:

Tobacco Prevention: F

Smokefree Air: A

Tobacco Taxes: B

Access to Cessation Services: D

To view Rhode Island's full report card, click the following link: http://www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org/state-grades/rhode-island/

The American Heart Association and our partner organizations are calling on lawmakers to increase the state's investment in evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs in the FY 2016 budget.  Be on the lookout for future action alerts!

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AHA Launches 2015 GET HEALTHY! Poster Contest for Rhode Island Schools

The American Heart Association recently launched its 2015 GET HEALTHY! Poster Contest for Rhode Island schools. Students in grades K-8 are asked to draw a picture of their favorite physical activity and favorite healthy food(s), demonstrating how they GET HEALTHY!  In addition to being entered to win great prizes, posters will help educate lawmakers about the importance of supporting policies that promote access to healthy foods and safe places to play and be active in our communities.  Schools will be provided with 11x17 posters for entries.  Simply click the link below to download the contest flyer for details.  Deadline for entries is April 24, 2015.

Special thanks to our 2015 GET HEALTHY! Poster Contest sponsor - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island!

(Please visit the site to view this file)

 

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