Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SB745-AED Good Samaritan passes House Judiciary

Yesterday afternoon SB745 passed the Oklahoma House of Represenatives Judiciary committee meeting 10-0. It will now go to the full House for a vote. Click here and tell your House member to vote YES!

Senate Bill 745 which would amend the current Good Samaritan law to allow for immunity of anyone who, in good faith, uses an AED on another person. By the passing Senate Bill 745, this will encourage Oklahomans to use AEDs and would reduce the number of cardiovascular deaths in our state.

It’s important to know that the new generations of AEDs require minimal training to use. They automatically diagnose the heart rhythm and determine if a shock is needed and prevent the user from overriding a "no shock" advisory. Their ease of use is increased by an electronic voice to prompt users through each step; all AEDs approved for use in the United States use a voice prompt.

You don’t have to be a hero to save a life, just someone who will pick up an AED and listen to the instructions. If you would like to take action on this or other legislation being supported by the American Heart Association please visit www.yourethecure.org and sign up today.

Click HERE to view a demonstration on how easy it is to use an AED.

Friday, March 27, 2009

American Heart Association supports lower sodium limits for most Americans

DALLAS, March 26 – New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides additional scientific evidence that the majority of Americans over the age of twenty should limit the amount of sodium (salt) they consume daily to 1,500 milligrams (mg) to prevent and reduce high blood pressure. The new data are published in the March 26, 2009 issue of the CDC’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report.

“In light of new data from the CDC, which show that 69 percent of adults are salt sensitive, the need to reduce sodium consumption has become an even higher priority for our country’s health,” said Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and professor of Preventive Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“The American Heart Association recommends that most people strive to lower the amount of sodium consumed daily to less than 1,500 mg, to prevent or manage high blood pressure, a major but modifiable risk factor for heart attack and stroke,” Van Horn said. “The new CDC data adds to a growing body of scientific evidence that supports this recommendation – there are now a substantial number of scientific studies that show a direct relationship between salt intake and a rise in blood pressure. An upper limit of no more than 1,500 mg could significantly reduce the rate of high blood pressure in the United States.”

The U.S. food supply contains excessive amounts of sodium (salt), which makes limiting sodium (salt) consumption to less than 1,500 mg difficult. According to the CDC report, Americans over the age of 2 consumed a daily average of 3,436 mg between 2005-2006, up from a daily average of 3,329 mg from 2001-2002.

In recognition of this fact, the American Heart Association is currently working with federal agencies to identify strategies to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply and is encouraging food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the sodium (salt) added to food by 50 percent over the next ten years.

In 2006, the American Heart Association acknowledged that a daily upper limit of no more than 1,500 mg is a good therapeutic goal to strive for to prevent and treat high blood pressure, but also suggested an interim goal of no more than 2,300 mg a day of sodium because the current food supply makes it difficult to achieve the lower number.

“The American Heart Association will continue to explore ways to help reduce the sodium content in our food supply,” Van Horn said. “In the meantime, we urge all Americans to reduce the amount of sodium they consume, preferably to no more than 1,500 mg daily. It may be difficult, but adhering to this goal could significantly reduce blood pressure levels in the United States.”

High salt diets have been linked to an increase in blood pressure and an increased risk for a number of cardiovascular diseases including heart disease and stroke.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

American Heart Association Sweethearts spend a day at the state capitol

Each year the American Heart Association chooses 40 Oklahoma High School women to serve as American Heart Association Sweethearts. The Sweetheart Program of the American Heart Association provides educational and social activities for the young women as it grooms them as advocates for heart health. The girls spend a year participating in several activities like a CPR and AED Training to a Health and Fitness Day.

One of these activities includes spending a day at the capitol learning about the legislative process and advocating for AHA issues. This year the girls were given the chance to visit their State Senators and educate them on SB 1135 which creates the Dining Information and Nutrition Education taskforce. Each girl met one on one with a Senator or their staff expressing the importance of providing the public with nutritional education when they dine out.

Sweethearts sitting in the House gallery waiting to be introduced.

Waiting for the Governor in the Blue Room.

Group picture with Lt. Governor Jari Askins

Picture with Governor Brad Henry

Representative Ann Coody talks to the girls about life as an elected official

The girls visiting the elected official's offices

South Dakota’s New Smoke-Free Law Is Historic Win for Health

South Dakota’s New Smoke-Free Law Is Historic Win for Health

Statement of Matthew L. Myers
President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Washington, DC (March 19, 2008) – All South Dakota workplaces, including restaurants and bars, will be smoke-free beginning July 1, thanks to legislation approved by the Legislature last week and signed into law today by Governor Mike Rounds. Governor Rounds and the Legislature have delivered a historic victory for public health and protected the right of all South Dakotans to breathe clean air.

As the 25th state to pass a strong smoke-free law that includes restaurants and bars, South Dakota adds to the growing momentum across the country and around the world to protect all workers and the public from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke. No one should have to put their health at risk in order to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out. We congratulate the legislators, organizations and businesses that have championed this critical public health measure, including Senators Dave Knudson, and Scott Heidepriem, and Representatives Bob Faehn and Bernie Hunhoff.

South Dakota joins 24 other states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in passing smoke-free laws that cover restaurants and bars. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana (extends to bars Oct. 1, 2009), Nebraska (June 1, 2009), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington. A growing number of countries have also passed nationwide smoke-free laws, including Bermuda, Bhutan, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.

The need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces and public places has never been clearer. In issuing a groundbreaking report on secondhand smoke in June 2006, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona stated, “The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults.” Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. The Surgeon General also found that secondhand smoke is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year, there is no safe level of exposure, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection from secondhand smoke.

The evidence is also clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. As the Surgeon General concluded, “Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse impact on the hospitality industry.”

It’s time for every state and community to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean air.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Smoke-free laws in Oklahoma

Carter Headrick, State Advocacy Consultant, with the American Heart Association recently visited with several Oklahoma lawmakers about smoke-free legislation and what Oklahoma can expect when passing Smoke-Free laws.

Currently, SB1036 by Senator Myers is awaiting a House committee hearing and would create a taskforce to study making all Oklahoma bars and restaurants 100% smoke-free.

Here is a link to a short clip from his talk.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

OKC AHA Board Member Uses and AED to Save a Life

This past Friday while traveling to Denver an AHA board member and OKC physician was called to the aid of a passenger who was suffering a cardiac arrest. She responded by using her medical training and the plane's AED to save the man's life. You can read the full story here.

It's stories like these that remind me why I get out of bed every morning. Right now the AHA is working hard to pass Senate Bill 745 which would provide immunity to anyone who uses an AED in an attempt to save a person's life.

As you may know, AEDs are extremely important because:

  • If an AED is used within three minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest, the victim has an 80 percent chance of survival.
  • Every minute that passes before returning the heart to a normal rhythm after a cardiac arrest causes the chance of survival to fall by 10 percent.
  • Each year, more than 250,000 people suffer cardiac arrest, usually away from a hospital. More than 95 percent of them will die, in many cases because defibrillation occurs too late to reverse the cardiac arrest.
  • The new generations of AED's require minimal training to use. They automatically diagnose the heart rhythm, determine if a shock is needed, and prevent the user from overriding a "no shock" advisory. Their ease of use is increased by an electronic voice to prompt users through each step; all AED's approved for use in the United States use a voice prompt.
Without legislation we fear that individuals will hesitate before using an AED and those few seconds could mean life or death for the person needing care.

Would like to find out how you can show your support for this important piece of legislation? Then sign up for our You're The Cure network here.

Menu Labeling Bill Gets Media Attention

Here is a story from NewsOk.com on the Menu Labeling bill that passed the Senate yesterday.

Published: 3/10/2009 2:26 AM
Last Modified: 3/10/2009 4:38 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY — The state Senate passed a bill Monday to create a task force to determine whether restaurant menus should include calories, fat grams and other nutritional information.

Senate Bill 1135 passed 37-8. It now goes to the House.

The bill, filed by Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, would create a 15-member task force to study whether putting nutritional information on the menu would help diners make healthier choices.

The task force would be made up of two members from the Senate as well as advocates from health associations and a member from the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.

"We're trying to give people the information and let them make healthier choices," Bass said.

Opponents said requiring restaurants to put nutritional information on all the food they serve could cost too much for smaller restaurants.

The Oklahoma Restaurant Association has said it could cost as much as $5,000 per menu item tested.

Bass said the association opposes the bill. Officials with the association did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

The task force would make recommendations that would be reviewed by the Legislature, Bass said. The provision could apply to restaurants that have more than 15 locations in the state. Many chain restaurants already publish nutritional information online or in pamphlets.

Oklahoma consistently has been ranked in the top 10 states for obesity.

Monday, March 9, 2009

DINE Taskforce Passes Senate!

Breaking News: The Oklahoma Senate has just passed the DINE Taskforce bill by a vote of 37-8. DINE stands for Dining Information and Nutrition Education and the bill would create a taskforce that would study issues like menu labeling. Thanks to all the You’re the Cure advocates who contacted their Senator on this issue!

Menu labeling could put nutritional information like calories and fat content directly on the menus at restaurants. This would make it easy to compare a cheeseburger with a chicken sandwich or a salad with a bowl of soup. Creating a taskforce is the first step towards menu labeling in Oklahoma.

The bill (SB 1135) will now head to the Oklahoma House. Stay tuned for more information on how you can help it pass through the House and land on the Governor’s desk.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Become an AHA advocate today

Do you want to be a You're the Cure advocate? Visit this link and sign up today. You will receive notices of when important legislation is being heard at the capitol and even be given the chance to contact your state representative or senator.

Remember when it comes to heart disease and stroke....You're the Cure!

March is National Nutrition Month

Now is a good time to make heart-healthy changes to your diet. It's important to focus on your overall eating pattern. The American Heart Association's Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations provide an easy way for you to understand what you should eat and how much physical activity you need to maintain good health.

Click here for more nutritional tips.

Also, if you are constantly on the go like most Oklahomans. Here is a great article on America's Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Smoke Free Oklahoma Lobby Day

Debbie Hite, Metro Heart Association Director, visits with volunteers during Smoke Free OK Lobby Day.

This past week the American Heart Association participated in Smoke Free Oklahoma Lobby Day. Along with the American Cancer Society and the Lung Association, volunteers lobbyed their state legisltors on behalf of legislation that would make all public places smoke free.

A recent poll, done by Wilson Strategies, was conducted on January 24-25, 2009 in Oklahoma. This poll shows:
*68% of voters believe the rights of customers and employees to breathe clean air is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke and owners to allow smoking.
*59% of Oklahomans SUPPORT a smoke-free environment for Oklahoma workers and families
*52% of voters say they are more likely to vote to re-elect their state legislator if that legislator supports a smoke-free law
*94% of Oklahomans believe secondhand smoke is a health hazard – 59% say it is a “serious” health hazard, 22% say it is a “moderate” health hazard
*Smoke-free laws will increase business - - 18% of those surveyed say they would go out MORE OFTEN if restaurants and bars were smoke-free

Do you have a personal story re: secondhand smoke? I would love to hear it!


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