Monday, September 28, 2009

Oklahoma Needs Your Input on It's Statewide Wellness Plan

Because you care so much about the American Heart Association's mission and the health of all Oklahoman's I am asking you to take a few minutes to voice your opinion on the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan. Our elected officials need to know that we care about obesity issues and protecting citizens from second-hand smoke.

Input sought on Oklahoma's wellness plan
PROPOSAL: Poor health is ‘like a slow-motion’ disaster, board president says

Published: September 23, 2009

State leaders want Oklahoma residents to help them finalize a plan to improve the state’s health status.

The state Health Department is preparing a comprehensive Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan to submit to the Legislature in late December. Oklahomans can read the draft online and give comments until Oct. 14.

Lawmakers asked health officials to find ways to improve the "physical, social and mental wellbeing of all people in Oklahoma through a high-functioning public health system.” That’s a big job, considering Oklahoma health rankings are "always hovering around the worst in the nation,” said Barry Smith, president of the state Board of Health.

"It’s the most vulnerable populations in Oklahoma that are at the most risk,” he said.
He said Oklahomans respond to natural disasters such as tornados but don’t always rally to protect the health of their fellow citizens.

Poor health is "like a slow-motion disaster,” Smith said.

The health improvement plan addresses children’s health, tobacco use and obesity. It aims to use public health resources more effectively and emphasizes prevention of disease and injury.

"Every single Oklahoman is a stakeholder in this plan,” state Health Commissioner Terry Cline said.

Oklahomans live an average 75.5 years, more than two years less than the national average of 77.7 years, Cline said.

OnlineThe draft health improvement plan can be viewed at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heart attack rates drop after smoking bans, continue downward over time

Please take a look this story about a recent study on smoke-free air laws. We have known that smoke-free laws reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and that will reduce heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer over the long term. However, more and more studies are showing that communities that pass smoke-free laws are seeing an immediate and significant reduction in heart attacks after the laws go into effect.


DALLAS, Sept. 21, 2009 — One year after passing smoking bans, communities in North America and Europe had 17 percent fewer heart attacks compared to communities without smoking restrictions, and the number of heart attacks kept decreasing with time, according to a report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The report is a meta-analysis of 13 studies in which researchers examined changes in heart attack rates after smoking bans were enacted in communities in the United States, Canada and Europe. The researchers found that heart attack rates started to drop immediately following implementation of the law, reaching 17 percent after one year, then continuing to decline over time, with about a 36 percent drop three years after enacting the restrictions.

“While we obviously won’t bring heart attack rates to zero, these findings give us evidence that in the short- to medium-term, smoking bans will prevent a lot of heart attacks,” said James M. Lightwood, Ph.D., co-author of the study and assistant adjunct professor in the department of clinical pharmacy at the University of California–San Francisco. “The studies on this issue now have long enough follow-up periods so that we can see exactly how big the effect is.”

Lightwood also noted that the community effect is consistent with probable individual risk and exposure scenarios.

For example, according to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2009 Update, non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work have a 25 percent to 30 percent increased risk of developing heart disease. This new research suggests that the individual increased risk may be higher, said Lightwood.

“This study adds to the already strong evidence that secondhand smoke causes heart attacks, and that passing 100 percent smoke-free laws in all workplaces and public places is something we can do to protect the public,” Lightwood said. “Now we have a better understanding of how you can predict what will happen if you impose a smoking-free law.”

David Goff, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and Professor of Public Health Sciences and Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, and an American Heart Association national spokesperson said the paper provides strong support for the contention that smoke free laws will improve public health. “This is good evidence that the benefits are realistic and consistent with reasonable estimates of the harm imposed by secondhand smoke,” Goff said.

“It is important to move forward now with widespread implementation of smoke-free laws,” he added. “At a time of great concern over the financial sustainability of our healthcare system, smoke free laws represent an inexpensive approach to reducing heart attacks, and, probably, other cardiovascular conditions.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Governor Holds Ceremonial Bill Signing for SB745

Yesterday, Governor Brad Henry held a ceremonial bill signing for SB745. Staff and advocates came to the Capitol to witness the signing and get their picture taken with the Governor.

AHA staff at the bill signing with Dr. Mary Ann Bauman and Advocacy Member Tara Proctor.


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