Friday, June 20, 2008

U.S. Life Expectancy Up, Heart Disease and Stroke Death Rates Down

The average U.S. life expectancy reached 78 years in 2006. In the same year, heart disease and stroke death rates declined by 5.5 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively. Death rates also declined for adult diabetes (by 5.3 percent) and high blood pressure (by 5.0 percent).

The data is based on a compilation of 95 percent of all U.S. death certificates, as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Oklahoma Legislative Successes

In a year that took the term “do-nothing legislature” to new heights (or should that be new lows?), the American Heart Association actually had a very productive year. We made significant strides in a number of areas important to advancing the American Heart Association’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Access to Care
• HB 2713 allows foster parents to participate in the Insure Oklahoma program.
• SB 1404 allows non-profits with fewer than 500 employees to participate in the Insure Oklahoma program.

Quality of Care
• HB 2713 allows the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to implement a pay-for-performance program that offers financial incentives to health care providers and patients for incorporating evidence-based medicine guidelines and information therapy prescriptions.

Chain of Survival
• HB 2643 requires CPR training as a precondition for licensure as a child care facility.
• SB 923 encourages the placement of AEDs in schools and exempts schools from civil liability related to the use of an AED.
• SB 1918 appropriates up to $2.5 million in tobacco tax revenue to be used to fund ambulance and EMS services in rural and other at-risk areas.

Obesity Prevention
• HB 3395 allows the Department of Education to contract with regional school health coordinators to help schools implement best practices related to health and wellness programs.
• SB519 creates a pilot student fitness testing program.
• SB 1186 requires an additional 60 minutes per week of physical activity in grades K-5.
• SB 1612 creates a grant program to fund evidence-based obesity prevention programs in afterschool settings.
• As one high-ranking Health Department official put it, “Considering the reluctance by legislators to pass school mandates etc. . . . you have really done well this year.

• SB 1420 requires the Department of Health to establish a statewide coordinated system of care for stroke.

Tobacco Control
• HB 3341 requires all cigarettes sold in the state to be self-extinguishing. Oklahoma is now the 23rd state in the nation to require fire-safe cigarettes.

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