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AHA President Says: The Science is Clear on Sodium Reduction

Check this out! In a new video, the President of the AHA, Dr. Mark Creager, explains that the science behind sodium reduction is clear. He says that robust evidence has linked excess sodium intake with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. And, he points out that you can do something about it: join AHA’s efforts to demand change in the amounts of sodium in our food supply.

“Nearly 80 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods” says AHA president Dr. Mark Creager. The video shows the 6 foods that contribute the most salt to the American diet: breads & rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches."

To see the video, head over to our Sodium Breakup blog!

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CDC releases new study about school lunches

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new study entitled, “Improvements and Disparities in Types of Foods and Milk Beverages Offered in Elementary School Lunches, 2006–2007 to 2013–2014,” by Lindsey Turner, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, Lisa Powell and Frank J. Chaloupka. 

In this study, researchers analyzed survey responses from 4,630 public elementary schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. The survey evaluated disparities and changes in school lunch characteristics from 2006-2007 to 2013-2014. A report evaluating the changes in school lunches was published last year by Bridging the Gap, a nationally recognized research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This latest paper evaluates the disparities findings of the research.

Check out the rest of the story on PreventObesity.net

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Share Your Story: Angela Kooi

Angela Kooi Michigan

On February 27, 2014, I was admitted to Borgess Hospital after being in and out of other hospitals for several weeks with heart-related symptoms (heart racing, dizzy spells, blurred vision, etc).  Several tests were run and despite a few elevated EKGs and occasions of catching a heart rate spike on the monitor, I was given the all clear and was ready to be sent back home. But, I know my body and knew this was not normal by any means. Thankfully the staff at Borgess hospital listened as I expressed my concerns, and finally, I was admitted.  Within 10 minutes of being admitted into my room and sending my family home I fainted.  My heart completely stopped - flat lined.  I woke to about 30 people in my room working frantically on me. They informed me that they thought they were going to have to “declare” me … what declare me dead?  As I spent the night in ICU I thought a lot.  I thought what if I hadn’t been persistent in explaining something wasn’t right and the need to stay that night in the hospital. What if I actually died? What would my husband and kids have done? What could I have done to avoid this?  The next morning I woke up to hear my husband and dad discussing options with the cardiologist.  The next thing I knew I was a 36-year-old with a pacemaker. I am alive, I am thankful and I am more knowledgeable. 

What did I learn?

Recognize the Symptoms. Get checked.  I had symptoms for several weeks and could have been more persistent with my doctor or gone directly to ER.  At times I made excuses for symptoms instead of addressing them.  I am young; there was no way I had heart issues, right? Wrong!  Symptoms of potential heart related issues include: heart palpitations, irregular or rapid heartbeats, discomfort in chest area, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or light headedness.  Some of the symptoms may be vague.  Address symptoms with a doctor. It is common -- and often fatal -- to wait too long before getting help

Monitor/Document. Know your Body.  When going to the doctor I couldn’t always remember the symptoms from the days prior or if there was something that triggered my heart palpitations.  Having a log of my blood pressure/heart rate, along with the activity during those times and how I felt during those times was helpful when talking to doctors.  Telling the doctors that I know my body and that what I was going through was not right was critical in getting the help needed.

Find an outlet/make time for yourself.  Managing multiple priorities such as work, kids and home can undoubtedly be stressful.  I tried all the standard stress-relieving activities such as deep breathing, walking and yoga, but none of these seemed to work for me.  Find what works for you or brings you peace.  I learned that my “me” time or outlet was crafting, which gives me a sense of peace.

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The healthy difference a month can make

March is Nutrition Month, and a perfect time to get more involved with the AHA’s ongoing efforts to promote science-based food and nutrition programs that help reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Every day, we’re seeing new initiatives: to make fruits and vegetables more affordable; to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened beverages that our kids are drinking; and of course, to ensure students are getting the healthiest school meals possible, all with the same goal: to help families across the country lead the healthiest lives they possibly can.

It’s also a great opportunity to lower your sodium intake. The average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day – more than twice the AHA-recommended amount. Excessive sodium consumption has been shown to lead to elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Visit www.heart.org/sodium for tips on to lower your intake and to get heart-healthy recipes.

However you choose to celebrate, Nutrition Month gives us all the chance to take control of our diets; to recommit to eating fresh, healthy foods; and to remember all month long that you’re the cure.

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What's up with CPR in Schools?

In case you missed it, on February 16th, the Wisconsin State Senate passed AB 545, the bill that would ensure all students in Wisconsin are trained in hands-only CPR before they graduate from high school!

We expect that this bill will make it to the Governor's desk for his signature in the near future.  Keep an eye out for an email later this week about an activity you can do to help thank the Senators who helped pass this important legislation.

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Take the You're the Cure Advocate Survey

2015 was a great year for You're the Cure advocates and the many policy efforts that you work on. We have big plans for 2016, and we want to hear from you and what you want to see in the future for You're the Cure.

So take the survey now and let your voice be heard.

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Have you watched our CPR video yet?

The facts are clear.  Bystander CPR saves lives.  And the more people trained in hands-only CPR, the more potential lifesavers there are, ready to put their skills to use in an emergency. 
 
Dan Christianson is alive today because of the quick actions of three high school students who knew CPR and dialed 9-1-1.  Click the picture below to check out this video that shows why the American Heart Association is advocating so strongly for CPR training.

(Please visit the site to view this file)

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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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Get Social With Your Members of Congress

Will you be on Facebook or Twitter today? Your Members of Congress and their staff will be, and it's a good place to reach them according to a report released in October by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF).

The CMF report, #SocialCongress, says Congressional offices are listening to social media chatter and it takes relatively few posts or comments to get their attention. That's good news for us!

So, how can you use the Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline to get the attention of lawmakers and help pass heart healthy policies?

  • Follow your members of Congress, as well as state and local elected officials on Twitter. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ their pages on Facebook.
  • Tweet about our health policy issues, tagging the appropriate legislators by using the @ sign and their Twitter handle. For example: I’m from Pennsylvania, so I’d tag my U.S. Senators by including @SenBobCasey & @SenToomey in my tweet.
  • If they allow it, you can post about our issues directly on the Facebook pages of elected officials. Frequently, that feature is disabled but you are able to comment on their posts. According to #SocialCongress, Congressional offices typically monitor those comments for a limited period of time. Your best bet is to comment within the first 24 hours after a post.
  • Rally your friends and family members to tweet, post or comment about an issue on a single ‘day of action’. CMF’s survey data shows just 30 or fewer comments can be enough to make a legislative office pay attention.
  • Be sure to use the campaign hashtag if one has been created by your advocacy staff partners. The #hashtag allows all the relevant posts to be woven together to tell our story, and makes your post searchable by others interested in the issue.    

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CPR in Schools update

Last month you received messages from us asking you to contact your lawmakers in support of CPR in Schools.  Here's an update on our progress so far.

 

First, a co-sponsorship update.  Thanks in part to strong advocacy from American Heart Association volunteers, the bills ended up with very strong, bi-partisan support!  In the Senate, 11 of the 33 Senators co-sponsored and in the Assembly, 37 of the 99 Representatives co-sponsored!  If you’d like to see if your lawmakers are co-sponsors, click the links below.  Remember though, if your lawmaker didn’t sign on, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they do not support the bill.

 

Second, the bill has been formally introduced in the Assembly, so from now on we’ll be talking about Assembly Bill 545.  We also know that the bill has been referred to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.  In the Senate, we’ve got Senate Bill 412 which has been sent to the Senate Education Committee. 

 

Third, what’s next?  We are hoping to have hearings in both committees this January.  In the meantime, we are going to start compiling a list of advocates (like you!) who would be willing to submit a Letter to the Editor to their local newspaper about CPR.  If you’d like to help in this way, please send an email to Jason.Harder@heart.org!

 

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