Friday, April 15, 2011

AHA advocates urge Congress to support research, fight childhood obesity

More than 300 American Heart Association advocates met with their representatives in Congress this week and urged them to appropriate $35 billion for the National Institutes of Health for the 2012 fiscal year, co-sponsor the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act and support the Safe Routes to Schools program.

The FIT Kids Act would encourage quality physical education and activity during the school day, and the Safe Routes to Schools program promotes the development of walking and biking paths for schoolchildren.

Currently, NIH invests only 4 percent of its budget on heart research and a mere 1 percent on stroke research. "These funding levels are simply not enough to advance research and bring us closer to a cure," said AHA President Ralph L. Sacco, M.D.

In addition to the action on Capitol Hill, over 12,000 emails were sent and nearly 200 phone calls were made by advocates across the country, who participated in the event virtually. Thanks to these active advocates, our message of prevention was delivered to 530 congressional offices!

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, (R-Ga.) and Rep. George Miller, (D-Calif.) received the association's Congressional Public Service Awards for their leadership in the passage of the Child Nutrition Act- and four outstandig volunteers were awarded with the Association's Advocate of the Year awards, including Dr. Stephen Cook (NY), Cindy Flynn (PA), Newt Williams (TN), and Abby Michaelsen (CA).

Star Jones of "The Celebrity Apprentice" also participated in the event sharing her journey of recovery from heart disease with fellow advocates and legislators alike.

For more information and event pictures, visit www.heart.org/yourethecureonthehill

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