Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Online report highlights 2009-10 advocacy victories

The AHA Office of Advocacy’s first-ever online annual report highlights federal, state and local policy victories from the 2009-10 fiscal year. The report, “Progress in Policy,” summarizes the association’s work to advance legislative and regulatory issues including access to care, health reform, research and prevention funding, tobacco control, emergency cardiovascular care and stroke systems of care.

The articles, videos and photos in this interactive report offer just a snapshot of the remarkable work of our You’re the Cure advocates, volunteers and staff. We owe each of these successes to their tireless dedication and efforts.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Healthier Eating Proposed for 800,000+ MN School Kids

Public News Service-MN
August 30, 2010

Healthier Eating Proposed for 800,000+ MN School Kids

ST. PAUL, Minn. - September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and new federal standards being proposed this fall could make for healthier eating for more than 800,000 Minnesota school kids. Senator Al Franken confesses to indulging in the occasional bake sale purchase himself, but says he doesn't want sugary snacks to be the norm when studies show one in three American kids is either overweight or obese. That's why he supports reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and is introducing legislation to help ensure healthier foods will be served before, during and after the school day.

"We have about $1.3 billion in obesity-related costs each year in Minnesota alone. We're talking about better nutrition in school meals, more physical activity, physical education in schools."

Franken says his legislation also includes activities held at schools during the summer months, when many kids lack access to healthy food and gain unwanted pounds. He's calling his proposal the "Healthy Kids All the Time Act." He joined state officials at an Obesity Summit in St. Paul on Friday, hosted by Minnesota's Healthy Kids Coalition.

Rachel Callanan, regional vice president of advocacy with the American Heart Association in Minnesota, says the epidemic of obesity must be attacked at both the state and federal levels in order to prevent junk food from finding its way onto school grounds.

"One of the things that we'd like to make sure is that there's not an exemption for fund-raising to sell junk food. The idea is, we're trying to promote healthier food options in our schools, so we don't want kids to have to make the choice between the apple and the candy bar."

The American Heart Association is one of 25 groups that joined together to create Minnesota's Healthy Kids Coalition.

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories:

Friday, August 6, 2010

3 Ways YOU Can Fight Heart Disease and Stroke this Month!

Me + You = Winning Against Heart Disease and Stroke

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So how many steps will YOU take on the journey to win against heart disease and stroke?

My name is Mark Olson and as an American Heart Association You're the Cure advocate, I know building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke is a journey worth taking. Preventing a heart attack or stroke is the best way for us to live happy healthy lives. As a heart attack survivor I am now an advocate of a fit future for all - especially to ensure that our children have the knowledge to make healthy choices.

But it's going to take more than me to win against our nation's # 1 and number # 3 killers. That's why I am asking YOU to join ME by taking 3 steps to win against heart disease and stroke:

Click the image below to print off the activity card below. If it does not open, go to and click on the PDF tab to download:

Every month, as a Minnesota Volunteer Leader, I will send an email asking you to take action as advocates by taking 3 simple steps. This month, I am ask you to take 3 steps to protect our kids.

1. Tell Congress we want healthy food options in our schools.
2. Educate your community about the danger of smoking among our youth.
3. And finally, encourage our schools to make physical education a top priority.

Imagine if everyone took 3 steps every month to fight heart disease and stroke, what strides would we make as a nation in winning against heart disease and stroke?

You don't have to be a doctor to save lives -- just an advocate for the American Heart Association. Take 3 steps today and join me in a journey to win against heart disease and stroke.

We can't spell CURE, without "U".


Mark R. Olson
Volunteer Leader

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Take Action this School Year: What Can YOU Do to Ensure Your Schools Have Quality Physical Education?

A new school year brings many opportunities for parents to talk to teachers and school administrators about how their district measures up when it comes to keeping our kids physically fit. The American Heart Association passed the 2010 Healthy Kids bill which means Minnesota now has statewide standards for physical education.

Does your school make the grade when it comes to keeping kids physically fit?

Ask your school the following questions about Physical Education:

1. Does your school district offer PE daily?

2. Do they follow the National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE)standards? Every Minnesota school district is required to adopt the National Standards for Physical Education, and students need to satisfactorily complete these new standards beginning in the 2012-13 school year.

3. Has/Will your school be applying for federal Physical Education Program grants to boost the funds available for PE?

4. Does your school promote "active recess"? (keeping kids physically active during recess breaks) The Minnesota Department of Education is encouraged to develop guidelines that districts can adopt to promote quality recess prctices and behaviors that engage all students, increase their activity levels, build social skills, and decrease behavioral issues.

5. What else is your school doing to not only promote physical activity, but also nutrition and other wellness policies?

Read more on the new Healthy Kids Law and what you can do to help ensure Minnesota kids get quality physical education and wellness in and out of the classroom.
*Report Back: Let us know how your schools responded! E-mail Melissa Horn at with any responses you get. Please include your school's name and location as well.

August 1, 2010 - A Day to Remember...

As you know, this year we passed the Tobacco Modernization and Compliance Act of 2010. Thanks to your efforts in ensuring Minnesota legislators vote for this legislation, this law went into effect on August 1st! This law broadens the definition of tobacco products to include items that can be "chewed, smoked, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed or ingested by any other means" and makes sure that these products are sold behind the counter and out of the reach of kids.

Be sure to thank your legislator(s) for protecting our kids from the dangers of tobacco and making August 1st a day we will always remember. Follow the link below to send them a thank you note:

Effective August 1, 2010, this law:
-Ensures that the new dissolvable tobacco products that are candy-flavored and resemble mints and breath strips are taxed and regulated as tobacco.
-Requires all tobacco products and tobacco-related devices to be sold behind the counter reducing youth access.
-Prevents the sale of new tobacco products and e-cigarettes to youth.

Thank you for your support on this important health issue.