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!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown Says House Passage of the HEART for Women Act is an Important Stand in Support of Women’s Health

Washington, DC (September 30, 2010) - The U. S. House of Representatives has taken an important stand in support of women’s health with the passage of the Heart Disease Education, Analysis and Research and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act. This legislative win will help make meaningful advancements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD)—the leading killer of American women. Provisions include greater oversight of Food and Drug Administration requirements for reporting sex and race-based data about new medicines and devices and the expansion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISEWOMAN screening program for low-income, uninsured and underinsured women.

Although we still have more work to do to achieve equity in health care and health status for women, this effort sets the stage to better identify and address women’s unique cardiovascular health needs. With more than one in three deaths among American women caused by CVD, we must continue to make strong efforts to ensure this measure is passed into law.

We commend the House for addressing women’s health needs and Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) for their leadership and efforts to move the HEART for Women Act forward.

Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk!

Great news! The American Heart Association will be hosting a Heart Walk in Northfield this year! Join us on October 2nd at Northfield Middle School at 8am to raise awareness for a heart healthy lifestyle.

Northfield Heart Walk Event Information

When: Saturday, October 2, 2010
Time: 8:00am Registration, Activities and Kid Zone
9:30am Opening Ceremonies
10:00am 1 or 3 Mile Walk
Where: Northfield Middle School
2200 Division St. S.
Northfield, MN 55057

Sign up for a Heart Walk Team:
Contact Kristi O'Keefe or Sara Silvernail @ (952)846-8607 or (612)590-2454; or and mention you are a You're the Cure advocate!

Help Us Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk:
This year, we will have an advocacy booth at the heart walk and will be collecting petitions to send lawmakers asking them to prevent obesity in Minnesota and nationwide.
Volunteer to help us collect petitions at the Northfield Heart Walk by contacting Rachel Callanan at

With your help, we will continue to make strides to ensure Northfield citizens, patrons, and children have a heart-healthy future! See you on October 2nd!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tell Congress: No more delays on Child Nutrition

Last week, we were expecting the House of Representatives to vote on the Child Nutrition Act within 24-48 hours- but unfortunately, the vote was delayed. The good news, though, is that we still have a chance to get the Child Nutrition Act passed by the end of the month. It's up to us to let the House of Representatives know that further delays are not an option.

Tell your Representative to finish the work on the Child Nutrition Act NOW!

Passage of the bill would mean significant improvements to the school environment to help establish a foundation for a lifetime of healthy behaviors for our kids, including:

-Improving the nutritional standards of school meals.
-Removing junk food from cafeterias, snack shops, and vending machines.
-Establishing a framework to strengthen local wellness policies and include the community in the development and implementation of districts' physical activity and nutrition goals.

We can't afford to let this opportunity pass. The Senate has already passed the Child Nutrition Act, so the House of Representatives' vote is the final hurdle to clear in order to send the bill to President's desk.

Please send a quick message right now, urging your Representative to support the passage of this important bill this week!

Thank you for your help to push for healthier options for our kids at school!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Help AHA win $200,000 from American Express

We are thrilled to share that the American Heart Association has been selected to participate in the Members Project in the Health and Wellness category! This means we are eligible to win $200,000 from American Express.

Please share on your social media accounts as you see fit. We have until November 30, 2010 to generate votes.

Suggested Messages:

· We need your votes! The American Heart Association is a candidate for funding from American Express through Members Project®, a partnership between American Express and TakePart to help people everywhere support charitable organizations.

· We need your votes! The Amer Heart Assn is a candidate to receive $200,000 from the Members Project! Vote every week until November 30th!

· Only X days left to vote for the American Heart Association! Help us receive $200,000 from the Members Project®!

· Only X days left to vote for the American Heart Association! Help save lives by voting for us to receive $200,000 from the Members Project®!

· We still need your votes! The American Heart Association continues to be a candidate for funding from American Express through Members Project®, a partnership between American Express and TakePart to help people everywhere support charitable organizations.

· Vote for us to receive $200,000 from the Members Project®! The funding will help us better fulfill our mission, and it takes just a mouse-click each week to help us win this vital support. Vote now and vote often!

· Help us receive $200,000 in funding! If you haven’t already, all you have to do is join Members Project®, and cast a vote for us each week. After November 30th, Members Project will tally the votes and announce the winners for the voting round. We want to be a part of that list. Vote today and every week for the American Heart Association!

Please use the following links in your post:

To cast your votes, go to: or use this shorten linked for your social media posts:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Minnesota Schools "Digging" Their Local Farmers This Week

Public News Service-MN

MINNEAPOLIS - From sporting bib overalls and "I Dig My Farmer" shirts, to corn-shucking contests, to hosting lunch with a local farmer, schools across Minnesota are celebrating Farm to School Week. In addition to teaching children about where their food comes from, Farm to School initiatives play an important role in kids' health, according to JoAnne Berkenkamp, program director for local foods with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

"For many students, obesity and diet-related health risks are a very substantial concern, so supporting those healthier eating habits is really critical. And we know it's important to reach kids early in life and to introduce them to a wide range of healthy food choices."

She says keeping the food dollar local also boosts local economies, and supports small and mid-sized farms.

More than 70 Minnesota school districts have adopted Farm to School initiatives, and more are expected to sign on this school year. Berkenkamp says parents can get involved by volunteering at their children's school cafeterias or school gardens, visiting farmer's markets, and reinforcing healthy eating habits at home by providing fresh, local foods.

She says school districts of any size or capacity can incorporate the program. Many smaller districts have started with something as simple as fresh apples.

"Apples are great, because they are a product that we know that is associated here with Minnesota agriculture. They're less perishable, and apples tend to be a little bit easier for schools to handle."

When Dover-Eyota Schools got involved with Farm to School three years ago, they began with apples and gradually added a range of locally-grown vegetables. Beginning this week, they will introduce local, free-range turkey, says Carrie Frank, food and nutrition director for the district.

"This excites me – the opportunity to buy local, to buy the freshest. I've been in schools now for 17 years, and I don't know when I've been more excited to be in the industry."

Frank calls Farm to School "a real community builder," as kids learn more about where their food comes from. One of the local farmers from whom she buys has children in the school district.

"The students are quite proud of it. I hear comments like, 'My mom grew this.' Or one child said, 'My grandfather and I picked this.'"

Last year, the high school agriculture class partnered with an area farmer to plant a small orchard on school grounds. Frank calls it a great learning tool - one that will, eventually, be another source of fresh food for the district.

** American Heart Association is coordinating with organizations across the state to strengthen Farm to School programs through our support of the Statewide Health Improvement Program. **

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

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thank Your Legislators for Protecting Public Health Funding

This week, by a vote or 46 to 52, an amendment that proposed cutting billions of dollars in critical disease prevention and public health funding was defeated in the U.S. Senate!

Please send a quick note of thanks to your Senator(s) by following the link below:

Thank Your Legislators for Protecting Public Health Funding

By defeating the amendment and preserving this funding, the Prevention and Public Health Fund will continue to be used for meaningful public health efforts in communities across the country. Currently, the Fund supports efforts to increase tobacco control, implement tobacco cessation services, combat obesity, and promote better nutrition and physical activity. Prevention is paramount in our fight against heart disease and stroke and we should be proud of our Senators who stood up to protect this vital funding.

Thank Your Legislators for Protecting Public Health Funding

Thank you for joining us in thanking your U.S. Senators for their efforts. We can't spell CURE, without "U".

Monday, September 13, 2010

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Do Not Let the Senate Wipe Out Prevention Funds

The Prevention and Public Health Fund represents our best opportunity to increase investments in critical heart disease and stroke prevention programs, however a recent amendment offered in the U.S. Senate proposes eliminating funding for the Prevention Fund.

We can't let this happen! Urge your Senators to protect prevention funding by voting against the amendment today:

American Heart Association Policy Statement:

Smokeless tobacco products not a safe option, won’t help smokers quit

DALLAS, Sept. 13, 2010 — Smokeless tobacco products should not be used as an alternative to cigarettes or for smoking cessation due to the risk of addiction and return to smoking, according to an American Heart Association policy statement.

Smokeless tobacco products such as dry and moist snuff as well as chewing tobacco may also increase the risk of fatal heart attack, fatal stroke and certain cancers, according to the statement published online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“No tobacco product is safe to consume,” said Mariann Piano, Ph.D., lead writer of the statement and a professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The statement also addresses a controversy over whether smokeless tobacco product use is a “safer” alternative to smoking. The idea that smokeless tobacco products are preferable to cigarettes is based in part on the Swedish experience where there was a significant decrease in smoking among Swedish men between 1976 and 2002 which corresponded to an increase in the use of smokeless tobacco.

However, the opposite was true in a recent United States study which found no reduction in smoking rates among people using smokeless tobacco products. For people trying to quit smoking, nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine gum or a nicotine-releasing patch placed on the skin) is a safer alternative compared to using smokeless tobacco products. Clinical studies have found no increased risk of heart attack or stroke with either type of nicotine replacement therapy.

As smoke-free air laws become common in the U.S., smokeless tobacco products have been marketed as a situational substitute (“pleasure for whenever”) for cigarette smoking when smoking is prohibited.

“Smokeless tobacco products are harmful and addictive – that does not translate to a better alternative,” Piano said.

Smokeless tobacco also is being used more by teenage boys, according to the statement. The Food and Drug Administration issued a final regulation related to the Tobacco Control Act that became effective June 22 that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone younger than 18 years.

“Scientists and policy makers need to assess the effect of “reduced risk” messages related to smokeless tobacco use on public perception, especially among smokers who might be trying to quit,” said Piano.

Co-authors are Neal L. Benowitz, M.D.; Garret A. FitzGerald, M.D.; Susan Corbridge, Ph.D., A.P.N., ACNP; Janie Heath, Ph.D.; Ellen Hahn, Ph.D.; Terry F. Pechacek, Ph.D.; George Howard, D.P.H. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.


Editor’s Note: In Minnesota, the American Heart Association was instrumental in the passage of the “Minnesota Tobacco Modernization and Compliance Act of 2010” which went into affect August 1. The bill will ensure that all new tobacco products are regulated so they cannot be marketed or sold to youth including new products like tobacco strips and orbs (that mimic breath mints), snus (smokeless and spitless tobacco) and electronic cigarettes.

Media Contact: Elizabeth Warmka, American Heart Association, 651-245-2293,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tell Your Legislators about National Cholesterol Education Month

High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. That's why the American Heart Association has developed important tools and resources to help you monitor your cholesterol levels at Since September is National Cholesterol Education Month, we are asking you to help us educate your legislators, friends, and family about the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.

Follow the link below to let your legislators know about National Cholesterol Education Month:

Tell your Legislators that September is National Cholesterol Education Month

Your diet, weight, physical activity and exposure to tobacco smoke all affect your cholesterol level and these factors may be controlled by eating a heart-healthy diet, enjoying regular physical activity, and avoiding tobacco smoke. Check with your healthcare provider to get your cholesterol checked and discuss lifestyle choices you can make to improve your heart health.

Another way you can help prevent heart disease and stroke this month and year-round is by supporting the American Heart Association in your employer's giving campaign. Each year, millions of dollars are raised for research and education through payroll giving. In addition to treating our nation's top killers, funding helps the American Heart Association provide the tools mentioned above to make sure all Americans know their cholesterol numbers and get screened to determine their risk for heart disease and stroke.

Please consider choosing the American Heart Association. If the AHA is not a choice on your ballot, make it one by contacting Sara Shaw at

Thank you for your help in spreading the word about Cholesterol Education this month. We can't spell CURE, without "U".