Friday, June 24, 2011

We're moving!

We've recently redesigned our You're the Cure blog and have moved to a new location! Be sure to bookmark our new address to continue following our great advocacy work. Thank you for your conversation here, be sure to bring that with us as we move - we don't know what we'd do without you!

New address: ... easier to remember, too :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Advocate Spotlight! Keith Ahrens

When you meet Keith Ahrens, a You’re the Cure advocate from Nevada, you are immediately drawn in by his passion to inspire others to live healthier lives. After suffering a heart attack, undergoing open heart surgery, and losing 200 lbs by changing his diet and exercise routine, he knows firsthand how critical it is to advocate for changes that promote prevention.

Keith has advocated for smoke-free regulations, bans on trans fats, and other nutrition issues within his state- and in April, he came to Washington, DC to lobby for NIH research funding and the FIT Kids Act. He has even taken his advocacy efforts 35,000 feet in the air! While on his return flight to Nevada from DC, he recognized Representative Shelley Berkley on his plane and took the opportunity to share his story and ask for her support for our issues.

Ask Keith which of the advocacy campaigns he’s been involved with that he thought was most significant and he says, “That’s a really tough question – there have been so many! Giving testimony to the Nevada Assembly. Standing in front of the Capital with my arms raised, knowing that we were there to deliver a message. They’ve all been important. The advocacy in the moment is the most important thing. It could seem big or little at the time but there’s always so much potential.”

In addition to influencing lawmakers, Keith also inspires his peers to take action, whether it is through his work as an author, motivational speaker and fitness trainer, or virtually through social media.

As Keith says, “You may not think you are an advocate, but chances are you are if you’re paying attention to the issues. It’s just a matter of how soft or how loud you want your voice to be. You’re the Cure is the best vehicle for a small person to let their voice be heard very big. It empowers you to go to a level you never thought possible.”

Monday, May 23, 2011

AHA wins THREE Awards at PR News!

The American Heart Association received three honors during PR News’ PR Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. for our great work in the nonprofit communications arena.

Our 2009-2010 Advocacy Online Annual Report -- Progress in Policy won two Honorable Mention awards for "Annual Publication" and "Internal Publication".

We also received an Honorable Mention in the “Event PR” category for the 2010 Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

We are very excited AHA has been recognized among a distinguished circle professionals and nonprofit organizations and thank all You're the Cure advocates who helped give us victories to report out about!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown says CDC Report on Children’s Food Environment Underscores Need for Strong Public Policies

Our nation’s youth face major roadblocks to good health with easy access to calorie-laden snacks, sugary beverages and other unhealthy foods in their schools and communities. With about 1 out of every 6 children in the U.S. considered obese, we are condemning our kids to a bleak future of premature health problems such as type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. The CDC Report: Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report is a painful reminder that many children continue to lack access to fruits, vegetables and nutritious food close to home. We must place a greater emphasis on making healthier food choices more accessible and affordable, particularly for families living in food deserts where the nearest supermarket could be miles away and for those surrounded by fast food restaurants or corner stores with less healthy offerings.

Parents, schools, child-care facilities and communities have the potential to improve the health of young people by providing the tools they need to learn lifelong healthy behaviors. By strengthening nutrition standards in schools, pre-schools and day care settings, we can help limit kids’ exposure to unhealthy options. We must also support measures to reduce sodium and eliminate trans fat in the food supply, increase community and school gardens, reduce children’s exposure to marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods and require calorie information to be displayed on menus and menu boards in all restaurants.

Strong public policies and community programs to increase access to healthy foods will help children develop heart-healthy eating habits that could significantly reduce childhood obesity rates across the country. To access the report, go to

Monday, April 25, 2011

140,000 Strong for School Nutrition

School nutrition advocates across the country sent a powerful message to the United States Department of Agriculture in April. The American Heart Association joined other groups, including, the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, Jamie Oliver Foundation, Center for Science in the Public Interest, National Urban League, MomsRising and the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, in generating 140,000 comments to the USDA in support of improved nutrition standards for school meals from advocates like you.

You’re the Cure advocates contributed over 24,000 messages, asking the agency to approve standards that would require school meals to include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting the amount of unhealthy fats and sodium. Thank you to all of our advocates who participated!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown Hails Progress in Smoke-Free Policies

Over the last decade, we have made steady progress in protecting Americans from the deadly consequences of tobacco use with passage of comprehensive smoke-free policies. But it’s too soon to rest on our laurels. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have enacted smoke-free laws for workplaces, bars and restaurants since 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and if current trends continue, the nation could be 100 percent smoke-free by 2020. However, nearly half of the country still lacks comprehensive smoke-free laws, hampering efforts to reduce tobacco use and smoking-related illnesses in the southern region of the country where heart disease and stroke death rates remain high. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer. We must zero in on those areas that continue to lag despite studies that show smoke-free policies benefit public health and the local economy with lower health care costs.

The CDC report, State Smoke-free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars - United States, 2000-2010, indicates approximately 88 million Americans are still exposed to secondhand smoke and several states have exemptions that put too many nonsmokers at risk. This remains a hurdle that must be addressed with passage of strong legislation to close loopholes. Elected officials, particularly those in the south, must do more to enact comprehensive smoke-free laws and give citizens a greater opportunity to breathe clean air.

For more information, visit the CDC website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Go Red Goes to Washington

Myrna Aguilar, a Go Red spokeswoman and single mom from California, knew her family’s history of heart disease put her at risk as well. Coming from a Latin American family that “likes to eat well”, she realized she needed to make changes to her lifestyle. She started by signing up for a bike marathon last fall and committed to regular exercise and a healthier diet. She has maintained her healthy lifestyle and is working to inspire her young son and other family members to do the same.

Recently, Myrna took her push for prevention to another level by participating in the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure on the Hill lobby day. “I wanted to share my story with lawmakers because I’m concerned for the future of my son and his generation,” she said. Myrna joined fellow advocates in urging lawmakers to address childhood obesity by supporting the FIT Kids Act and Safe Routes to School legislation, as well as to support increased funding for medical research to improve the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Myrna realized her actions made a difference when Representative Laura Richardson (shown with Eric Batch, Jacqueline Hernandez, and Myrna) agreed to co-sponsor the FIT Kids Act after their lobby day meeting. Simply by sharing her story and concerns as a mother, Myrna and other advocates across the country have been able to raise awareness and garner support from our nation’s lawmakers.

Myrna further reflects, “I heard the most amazing stories and left even more inspired by all of the great work You’re the Cure advocates are doing!” To join Myrna in taking action, visit today!