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Back to School, Back to Good Health!

With summer drawing to a close, back-to-school season not only is a time to stock up on supplies, it’s also an opportunity to encourage kids to eat healthy, be active and avoid secondhand smoke. The AHA recognizes that a smoke-free environment can promote children’s brain development, prevent addictions and lead to healthier lifestyles later on (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  All forms of tobacco and nicotine are unhealthy — cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and e-cigarettes. So what can parents do to help ensure their kids are ready to learn when the school bell rings?  Read here for heart-healthy tips on going back to school. 

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Stroke is Why

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in our country, and certainly one of the leading factors leading to disability.  Stroke is why we are laser-focused on preventing stroke, knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, and knowing how to act immediately to get someone the care they need when stroke happens.  Stroke knows no age, gender, race or socio-economic group.  It's why we share stories of stroke survivors and the families impacted by stroke - to inspire others into action to ensure our public policy improves health outcomes when it comes to stroke.  Michelle McVeigh's story is one of inspiration and action.  Michelle McVeigh is why we do what we do.

Read Michelle McVeigh's story here. 

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Complete Streets Resolution Promotes Safer City Streets

The Sioux Falls City Council passed an important resolution that will encourage safer transportation in the city for pedestrians and bicyclists.  The Complete Streets resolution is intended to make the city safer and more active by making sure all forms of transportation are considered in the street and neighborhood design process. The American Heart Association was an active advocate for this important policy resolution, and we thank our local advocates for encouraging city councilors to support this initiative. 

A Complete Street is a street designed to accommodate all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, bicycle to work, and walk to destinations in a timely manner and in a safe environment.

A Complete Streets policy directs planners and engineers to routinely design and operate streets in manner that provides users safe access – no matter which mode of transportation they choose.

By incorporating complete streets elements, the city can provide safe and accessible networks for families in our community for walking, bicycling and accessing healthier foods. It’s also a great economic development tool to attract new people to our community and encourage young people, seniors and families to stay right here in Sioux Falls.

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Cardiac System of Care Conference Set for September

In April, 2010 the Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded the American Heart Association an $8.4 million grant to build a STEMI system of care in the state of South Dakota. The Mission Lifeline project has transitioned into the South Dakota Cardiac System of Care. The American Heart Association and the South Dakota Department of Rural Health are collaborating to bring the first Cardiac System of Care Conference to healthcare providers in South Dakota.

The focus of this conference is to continue the momentum of improvement in care by presenting information helpful to enhance the system of care for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) patients and improve outcomes. There is also a focus related to the LUCAS™ 2 Chest Compression System device purchased by the South Dakota Department of Health through funding received from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. This three-year, $3.7 million investment in lifesaving equipment will improve survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest.

When: September 9, 2015, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Where: Red Rossa Italian Grill, 808 W. Sioux Ave. #200, Pierre, South Dakota 

The conference is free of charge and will cover topics such as Pre-hospital and hospital Resuscitation, pre-hospital cooling and case studies, LUCAS annotations, time critical decision making, community awareness and engagement, feedback loop to improve systems. The SD SIM trucks will also be available to conduct refresher training in the LUCAS device and 12 Lead EKG acquisition.

The target audience for this conference is South Dakota physicians, nurses and EMS providers.

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Advocate Spotlight: David Bordewyk

David Bordewyk South Dakota

As general manager and chief lobbyist for South Dakota Newspaper Association, I spend a portion of every winter at the state capitol in Pierre, advocating for newspapers, the First Amendment and open government issues before legislators and others.

Lobbying during the legislature involves “down time” -- waiting around the capitol to talk to legislators, sitting through lengthy committee hearings and more. It was during one of those down times a few years ago I took advantage of a mobile heart screening clinic being conducted at the state capitol.

That heart screening changed my life, if not saved my life.

Results of the screening led to further tests with a cardiologist in Sioux Falls and the discovery of severe heart disease. I had 90 percent blockages in three main coronary arteries.

I am grateful for the wonderful health care I’ve received here in South Dakota. I am blessed because I’ve been given a special opportunity to take better care of myself and do all that I can to live a healthy, wonderful life with my wife and two sons.

Excuse the pun, but I am serious when I say I’ve taken it all to heart. I exercise much more than I ever did. I eat much better these days. And I listen to my health-care providers. As a result, I feel better most days and I believe I live a more balanced, fulfilling life these days.

I also believe I have been given an opportunity to give back and that is one reason why I have chosen to be an advocate on behalf of the American Heart Association. If I can contribute in some small way to the wonderful, powerful work that AHA does, all the better.

It’s the least I can do, with the opportunities and blessings that have come my way.

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Watch4Jerry Video Promotes Safe Transportation

The city of Sioux Falls has launched a new video that, among other messages, promotes safe transportation on city streets whether you are driving, biking or walking.  The video introduces Jerry, a precocious pup that reminds all those who use city streets to watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists and pets who also like to enjoy the outdoors using our sidewalks and city streets. 

Safe transportation is an important part of an active lifestyle which is vital to cardiovascular health.  The American Heart Association encourages individuals and families include outside activities into their daily lives in an effort to combat obesity.  In order to be outside and be active, it’s important for motorists to share the road with all modes of transportation.

Some important considerations for safe pedestrian transportation include:

  • Use Crosswalks and follow signals
  • Make yourself visible to others moving on streets and sidewalks
  • Be sure to allow yourself enough time to cross, and do not dart out in front of vehicles 

Bicyclists should consider these safe transportation guidelines:

  • Follow the rules of the road and be sure you are watching for traffic and crossing streets properly
  • Bicyclists should obey all traffic rules, be visible, protect your head by wearing a helmet and always signal when turning
  • At intersections, stop before entering crosswalks

For more about Jerry and how to stay safe on city streets, visit the City of Sioux Falls Live Well website, or CLICK HERE

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CPR a Critical Link in the Chain of Survival, Report Says

The Institute of Medicine recently issued a report that supports AHA’s focus on the importance of teaching CPR to as many people as possible.  The report suggests that while 9 of 10 people who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest outside a hospital die, survival rates could be improved dramatically with more CPR training, a nationwide registry, and other strategies.  AHA CEO Nancy Brown said the strategies in the report support the association’s goal of doubling cardiac arrest survival, which will save an additional 50,000 cardiac arrest victims each year. 

“We need novel and innovative approaches to improve survival at national, state and local levels,” Brown said in a statement. “That’s why we applaud the IOM for calling for a culture of action and for their unbiased and authoritative advice on critical health issues facing our country.”

While much has already been done in the critical areas of cardiac arrest survival, including CPR training in schools, AED deployment, dispatcher-assisted CPR, emphasis on high-quality CPR by EMS providers and post-cardiac care, more focus is needed to ensure victims of sudden cardiac arrest get the fastest and most appropriate care possible to improve survival rates. 

States across the country are moving toward requiring CPR training as a high school graduation requirement.  Training students in Hands Only CPR puts thousands of life-savers into our communities each and every year.  The AHA strongly advocates for South Dakota to include CPR training in high school curriculum so that all students learn this life-saving skill prior to graduation.  Learning this skill in high school can also spark their interest in emergency medicine, an area of critical need in South Dakota. 

For more on this article, CLICK HERE

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Register for Heart Walk in Your Community!

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans? In fact, someone dies from CVD every 39 seconds! Heart disease also kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.  And congenital cardiovascular defects are the most common cause of infant death from birth defects.  Heart Walk is great way to help in the fight against heart disease in your community. 

Get started today by finding your local Heart Walk! Join your company team, start a team of your own, or join as an individual - whatever you choose, you can make a difference in people’s lives – including your own!

When you join Heart Walk, you join more than a million people in 300+ cities across American in taking a stand against heart disease and helping save lives! The funds you raise in the Heart Walk will support projects like these:

  • Putting up-to-the-minute research into doctors' hands so they can better prevent and treat heart disease among patients.
  • Groundbreaking pediatric heart and stroke research.  About 36,000 babies are born with heart defects each year - research is the key to saving babies' lives.
  • Getting life-saving information to those who need it most - information that can save a life, like how to eat better, how to recognize the warning signs of heart attack, and how to talk to a doctor about critical health choices. 

Everyone has a reason to live a healthier, longer life. The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's premier event in your community. It promotes physical activity and heart-healthy living in a fun, family environment. It is a time of celebration for those who have made lifestyle changes and encourages many more to take the pledge to live healthier lifestyles while raising the monies needed to fund life-saving research and education, advocate for health and SAVE lives! What are you waiting for? Participate and share your why or possibly discover your why!

Register for an upcoming Heart Walk in your Community!

Eastern South Dakota Heart Walk, Saturday, August 22nd, Falls Park, Sioux Falls

Black Hills Heart Walk, Saturday, September 12th, Main Street Square, Rapid City

Central South Dakota Heart Walk, Saturday, September 19th, Hyde Stadium, Pierre

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Advocate Spotlight: Amber Rost

Amber Rost South Dakota

As an active, busy mom of two school-age girls, I try very hard to ensure my family is getting the good nutrition they need each and every day.  It can be a challenge not only to put nutritious meals on the table every day, but also to combat the marketing of junk food that my girls are exposed to every day.  I try to make the healthy choice the easy choice in our home.  That is why it is important to me that our schools make the same commitment. 

I know that obesity is a growing concern among our youth.  I also know that the health consequences of obesity in children are staggering.  Obesity is a major contributor to chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.  That’s why learning good nutrition habits early is so important.

Our children consume 35% - 50% of their daily caloric intake at school, where they are often exposed to junk foods and sugary drinks that have little nutritional value.  Our kids are constantly being inundated with junk food marketing and healthy food choices are sometimes hard to find. 

I encourage Congress to reauthorize the child nutrition Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to ensure that our schools continue to make improvements in the nutritious value of school meals.  Not only does healthy school nutrition help combat childhood obesity, but studies have shown that kids perform better in school when they have good nutrition. 

I know there have been challenges to meeting the nutrition guidelines of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, but let’s not give up on our children’s health.  Let’s work together to ensure the healthy choice is the easy choice when it comes to school meals.

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Bike Safety Law Goes Into Effect July 1

Thanks to our South Dakota advocates, South Dakota's bike safety law will go into effect on July 1st.  The signs are already popping up around the state.  Pictured as bike safety law supporters Rep. Lee Schoenbeck and Rep. Fred Deutsch.  This is one of the strongest bike safety laws in the nation.  We are proud of the coalition efforts to pass this law and are especially grateful to legislative champions like Rep. Schoenbeck and Rep. Deutsch! 

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