Friday, October 30, 2009

The Word is Out....

Yesterday, I joined the Oklahoma State Department of Health in a press conference to discuss the Institute of Medicine report that was released last week that addresses the issue of passing comprehensive smoking laws and how they reduce the risk of heart attacks associated with secondhand smoke.

Below are links to the great media coverage we received in response. The word is out that we are going to be pushing this issue during the 2010 legislative session and we don't plan on backing down. 27 other states have passed comprehensive smoking policies, it's Oklahoma's turn.

Bill could strengthen Oklahoma's smoking ban: Channel 2 in Tulsa

Health officials will try again to ban smoking in bars and restaurants: Tulsa World

Officials To Seek Smoking Ban: Fox 23

Oklahoma activists target smoking loopholes:

Oklahoma officials to seek smoking ban:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PE in Schools: we are asking lawmakers to beef up PE in schools in order to slim down our children

We all know there is a troubling trend of rising obesity rates across the country. Sadly childhood obesity rates are rising even faster which puts our kids at greater risk for heart disease and stroke. But now we are asking lawmakers to beef up PE in schools in order to slim down our children.

Quality physical education in Oklahoma's schools is an important part of a student's well-rounded education and will promote lifelong health. Efforts made now will help children avoid a lifetime of chronic disease and disability.

As lawmakers prepare for the upcoming legislative session, we need to make sure they see PE as a top priority. Here's what we're asking them to do:

• Increase the physical education requirement in our schools.

• Establish enforcement of the physical education requirement.

• Strengthen the definition of physical education in schools.

Please click on the link above and let lawmakers know that we care about the health of our children. With two clicks of a mouse your message will be sent to your specific lawmakers and key decision makers like the Governor and Lt. Governor.

Oklahoma Newspaper Takes Note of New Smoke-Free Law Study

It's great to see some press coverage of the new Institute of Medicine Report that came out last week. This report outlines evidence that smoke-free laws do, indeed, benefit the heart health of Americans, and further motivates the American Heart Association to continue pressing local officials to enact smoke-free policies.

Read it here.

A little change can go a long way

I'm sure you are all sick of hearing about "change". It was a popular campaign slogan last year and seems to be the topic of conversation everytime you turn on the TV. Well the change I'm writing about has little to do with oil prices or bank bailouts and more to do with the lifestyle decisions you make every day.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the united states, with the two main causes being obesity and smoking. With 65% of Oklahomans being obese, and 24% being smokers it's clear that it's time for some change in our state.

This week the Oklahoman printed an article by David Zizzo where Dr. Jorge Saucedo talk about the extreme need for change in Oklahoma. I've posted the link below and encourage everyone to read it and think about what changes they are giong to make to fight heart disease and stroke.

Remember, You're the Cure!

Change is a ‘must’
By DAVID ZIZZO, Staff Writer
Published: October 3, 2009
Read more:

Study: tax on soda, sugary drinks would help in obesity battle

A report in the New England Journal of Medicine says taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and soft drinks would help lower people’s overall calorie consumption while generating revenue that local governments can use for health programs.

The authors say a tax could promote the consumption of no-calorie beverages such as water and encourage manufacturers to reformulate their products to lower sugar thresholds. Also, revenue from these taxes “would be considerable and could be used to help support childhood nutrition programs, obesity-prevention programs, or health care for the uninsured or to help meet general revenue needs.”

See report in New England Journal of Medicine.

During CPR, more chest compressions mean more saved lives

The chance that a person in cardiac arrest will survive increases when rescuers doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) spend more time giving chest compressions, according to a multi-center study reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“Chest compressions move blood with oxygen to the heart and the brain to save the brain and prepare the heart to start up its own rhythm when a shock is delivered with a defibrillator,” said Jim Christenson, M.D., lead author of the study and clinical professor of emergency medicine at the University of British Columbia. “We found that even short pauses in chest compressions were quite detrimental.”


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New York study says menu labeling affects behavior

David Morgan David Morgan – Mon Oct 26, 3:57 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New York's mandate that fast-food restaurants post calorie information on their menus has changed consumer habits, the city said on Monday, contradicting a recent independent study showing no effect.

The city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released preliminary data showing evidence that people bought food with fewer calories at nine of the 13 fast-food and coffee chains included in a study on the effects of menu-labeling laws that went into effect in 2008.

Researchers surveyed more than 10,000 customers at 275 locations in early 2007 and another 12,000 this year. READ MORE

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

IOM Report on Childhood Obesity

In the United States, 16.3 percent of children and adolescents between the ages of two and 19 are obese. The prevalence of obesity is so high that it may reduce the life expectancy of today’s generation of children and diminish the overall quality of their lives. While parents and other adult caregivers play a fundamental role in teaching children about healthy behaviors, those positive efforts can be undermined by local environments that are poorly suited to supporting healthy behaviors—and may even promote unhealthy behaviors. Local governments can play a crucial role in creating environments that make it easier for children to eat healthy diets and move more.

The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention Actions for Local Governments was convened to identify promising actions that local governments can take to curb obesity among children. The committee sought action steps that are within the jurisdiction of local governments; likely to directly affect children; based on the experience of local governments or sources that work with local governments; take place outside of the school day; and have the potential to promote healthy eating and adequate physical activity. The 2009 report Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity presents the committee’s menu of recommended action steps for local government officials to consider in their efforts to prevent childhood obesity in their community.

You can read the report here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New York Menu Labeling Law is Proving to Be Successful

More and more states are exploring the possibility of requiring restaurants to post calorie information on their menu boards. New York was one of the first state's to do this and they are starting to see a change in how people order when eating out.

Calorie counts on menus force hard choices

Published: October 6, 2009
Read more:

Everyone has a story. What's yours?

It's not often that I find someone who doesn't know someone else who has been affected by heart disease or stroke. Almost everyone can name somebody who has died of a heart related illness, or whose life was forever changed due to a stroke. I hate that these disease have to be a part of our daily lives but I love to listen to the stories from survivors or family members. It's these stories that remind me why I get out of bed every morning and drive to work.

In preparation for the upcoming legislative session I want to hear what your story is. I can talk to lawmakers all day about the importance of reducing heart attacks in our state but its stories from constituents that help me push them over the edge and convince them to vote in our favor.

So, what's your story? I would love to hear it.

(You can send your story to Please remember that I may use this story when promoting legislation at the capitol.)

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