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, December 14, 2010

Help Make Minnesota Heart-Health a Priority

Hello! I'm Anne Simaytis, your new Regional Grassroots Advocacy Director for the American Heart Association. Thank you for your continued involvement in the You're the Cure Network! It's my job to make it easy for you to communicate with your legislators and keep you up to speed on our heart-healthy legislative priorities. Together we can make Minnesota a healthier place to live!

Thanks to you, we had some great successes in the 2010 legislative session to address childhood obesity with the passage of the Healthy Kids/Physical Education Act and protecting our kids from a new generation of tobacco products with passage of the Tic Tac Tobacco Act. We couldn't do it without you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your hard work to let policymakers know that you care about making Minnesota a Heart-Healthy state.

In the upcoming 2011 legislative session we'll have several opportunities for you to make healthy hearts a priority by taking action. Today, you have the chance to tell Governor-Elect Mark Dayton what heart-health initiatives he should make a priority.

Post a message telling Governor-Elect Mark Dayton what heart-health initiatives are important to you.

Below are suggested priorities to post to Governor-Elect Dayton's website. Post one or all of these:

Address childhood obesity: Obesity is costly in terms of lives and dollars. Our current generation of kids could be the first to live shorter lives than their parents due to the significant rise in obesity rates. The State of Minnesota can do a lot to improve the outlook for our kids. I urge your administration to promote healthy eating and more physical activity in schools and communities.

Reduce obesity and tobacco use through the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP): In 2008 the legislature passed a significant investment in local strategies to reduce obesity and tobacco use as part of health care reform. The resources invested in the Statewide Health Improvement Program are being used in every county in the state on strategies ranging from promoting healthy eating in schools, supporting community opportunities for physical activity, and local strategies to reduce tobacco use. This prevention-focused health care reform is crucial to our success in reducing future health care costs. Minnesota is a model for the nation with this innovative program. I urge your administration to continue the forward-thinking investment in SHIP to help promote healthier behaviors and reduce health care costs over the long term.

Increase the price of tobacco: We all pay the price of tobacco use through loss of loved ones and higher health care costs. I urge your administration to support a significant increase to the tobacco tax which will help reduce smoking rates. Most importantly, a higher price acts as the most effective method of ensuring that young people never become addicted.

Improve Minnesota's treatment of stroke: Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in Minnesota. But there can be significant disparities across Minnesota with the available treatments for stroke. Surviving or minimizing the disability a stroke can cause should not depend solely on where you live in Minnesota. There are simple changes we can make to improve the stroke systems of care that will help equalize the treatment of stroke whether you live in Minnetonka or Mahnomen. Please work with hospitals and EMS to develop a statewide stroke system of care that will reduce the death and disability caused by stroke.

Post a message NOW to let Governor-Elect Mark Dayton know what heart-health initiatives are important to you!

And then BE COUNTED! Click here to let us know you made your voice heard!

Thank you for your continued support of the American Heart Association. I look forward to working with you in the coming year!

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