07 February 2011

American Heart Association supports new USDA/HHS dietary guidelines and encourages adherence

The American Heart Association welcomes the release of the new dietary guidelines issued at the end of January by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), which emphasize the importance of weight control and eating a diet that has the most nutrients for the least calories and includes a focus on eating more plant-based foods, avoiding added sugars and getting adequate physical activity.

Many of the recommendations in the new guidelines are similar to the diet score that is being used by the American Heart Association to define ideal cardiovascular health as part of the organization’s 2020 goals. (Take it now at www.heart.org/mylifecheck.) The diet score includes recommendations on consumption of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole-grains, sodium, sugar-sweetened beverages and fish.

However, the American Heart Association is deeply disappointed in the federal guidelines’ recommendations on sodium and saturated fat — considered a backwards step from the dietary guidelines released in 2005, and also not consistent with USDA/HHS’s own Advisory Committee recommendations, released in June 2010.

The guidelines’ new sodium recommendation advises about half of the population — including those 51 years and older and those of any age who are African Americans or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease — to reduce daily sodium intake to less than 1500 mg. However, significantly, for those who don’t fall into those categories, the recommendation is to reduce intake to just 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

By specifying “age 51” for the population recommendation of 1,500 mg, the American Heart Association believes these guidelines do not address the very real issue of excess sodium consumption across the population, and in fact, these guidelines actually take an unfortunate step backwards. In 2005, this level of sodium intake was specified for “middle-aged and older-aged”, which is generally interpreted as above age 40. When this age is used, as it was in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statement in the 2010 MMWR, fully 69 percent of the adult population meets the 2005 criteria for the 1,500 mg level. Now the guidelines only address older-aged Americans.

The American Heart Association and others in the public health community strongly recommend a daily sodium consumption limit of less than 1500 mg a day intake for all Americans. The association is concerned that the new dietary sodium recommendation does not go far enough to support achieving this goal by 2020 and to promote the health of the nation. The 1,500 mg recommendation should apply to all Americans — children and adults.

You can read more about this story here.

03 February 2011

Tell Us How You're Going Red For A Chance to Win

Despite the blustery weather and snow on the ground across most of our region, Wear Red Day (Feb. 4) still goes on! Tell us how you're keeping warm and still wearing your red. Add a comment to this post, and we'll pick five winners at random on Feb. 5 to win a $5 Starbucks Gift Card. That way, you can warm yourself up with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate! (Make sure and leave a way for us to get in touch with you - either with an email address or a google account).

02 February 2011

Little Rock Unveils Their Go Red Survivor Gallery

Today, the Central Arkansas Survivors gallery was unveiled at the state capitol in Little Rock. This poster series features stories of Arkansas women who have survived various types of heart disease or stroke. The women share their stories to educate Arkansans about the risk factors and have made it their mission to fight heart disease and stop the No. 1 killer in America.

Big thanks to sponsors Chesapeake Energy, Arkansas Life magazine and Maggie's Bakery in Conway who provided some awesome Go Red For Women cookies.
Tell us how you're going red this February!

01 February 2011

Make a Purchase that Supports the Mission

Each February we have several companies that conduct promotions in support of Go Red For Women. Consider making a purchase this February that supports the mission of the American Heart Association.
  • Campbell Soup Company - In support of Go Red For Women, Campbell's has enlisted Monica Potter of NBC's ""Parenthood"" and Deborah Johnson, mom of NFL defensive end Jay Richardson, to help raise awareness of heart disease. Each of these moms has created a video message that women can share with the women in their lives encouraging them to be heart-healthy. For each video view on www.CampbellsAddressYourHeart.com through March 31, 2011, Campbell will donate $1 to the Go Red For Women movement, up to $625,000.
  • Cutco - Between March 1, 2010 and Feb. 28, 2011 CUTCO will donate $75,000 to the cause, plus an additional contribution of 10% of the sales of 4-Piece Red Table Knife Sets and Red Super Shears.
  • Jewelry TV - From February 2 through February 28, 2011, Jewelry TV will make a $10,000 donation to Go Red For Women and will collect donations from customers online and via phone with all donations raised going directly to the cause.
  • Jitterbug/Great Call - In support of Go Red For Women, Great Call created the Jitterbug J Go Red Phone and will make a donation of $500,000 to the cause through March 2011.
  • Macy's - Wednesday, February 2, through Sunday, February 6, 2011, Macy’s will conduct a Wear Red Sale to raise funds and awareness for Go Red For Women. Customers who wear red will receive all-day savings throughout the store. Customers not wearing red can purchase a Red Dress pin for $2.00 and receive the all-day savings. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the pins will be donated to Go Red For Women. And from Feb. 6 through Feb. 14, 2011, for every Valentine sent through Macy's Facebook page, Macy's will donate $1 to Go Red For Women, up to $250,000. During the month of February, the sale of the following items in Macy’s stores will benefit Go Red For Women as follows:

    • Kipling Red Alvar Bag – 5% of purchase price
    • Tommy Hilfiger Red & White Specially Designed T-shirts – 10% of purchase price (5% donated by Macy’s; 5% donated by Tommy Hilfiger)
    • INC Little Red Dress designed by Irina Shabayeva, Winner of Project Runway Season 6 – 5% of purchase price
    • August Silk Red Cardigan – 5% of purchase price
    • Donatella Specially Designed Charm – 10% of purchase price
    • Ellen Tracy Specially Designed T-shirt – 10% of purchase price
  • Party City - Now through February 28, 2011, Party City will sell paper hearts in stores for $1 with all proceeds going to Go Red For Women.
  • Perfumania - During the month of February, Perfumania will sell gift tags in their stores for $1 with 100% of the proceeds donated to the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement.
  • Princess House - Through May 31, 2011, Princess House will donate $1 from the sale of each Princess Heritage "Love Your Heart" Pendant Necklace to the cause.
  • Rite Aid - During the month of February, Rite Aid offers customers the opportunity to purchase a paper red dress with 100% of the proceeds to benefit Go Red For Women.
    SuperValu - SuperValu, parent of grocery chains Acme, Albertsons, bigg's, Bristol Farms, Cub, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Jewel-Osco, Save-A-Lot, Shaw's, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers, is a proud national supporter of the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement and will support the cause through its "Value Your Heart" campaign in stores during the month of February.
  • Yankee Candle - From now through March 28, 2011, Yankee Candle will donate $1 to the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement for the sale of each large jar candle in select red fragrances.

And if you're looking for a new red dress pin, or a Go Red For Women water bottle, head to our online store (www.shop.heart.org) to find AHA products.

Three Days Left Until National Wear Red Day!

Heart disease remains the #1 killer of women, both nationally and here in the SouthWest Affiliate. And while we have made great strides through the years, too many women die because they are unaware that heart disease is their top health threat. That’s why women across our community are making it their mission to fight heart disease, joining the American Heart Association to promote the Go Red For Women® campaign and National Wear Red Day (Friday, Feb. 4).

What can you do?

Make it a goal to add one Go Red For Women activity to your to-do list during Heart month. Take a look at the list of events to the right - find a luncheon in your area and plan to attend. Or visit your local Facebook page to find other events including press conferences, proclamations, car test drives and flash mobs (that's right Little Rock, we're planning a mob!).

Then take five minutes to complete one of these online activities to help us spread the message digitally:

  • Add a red dress to your Facebook or Twitter profile It takes about 5 minutes and is a great way to show your support of the Go Red For Women efforts. Visit http://twibbon.com/cause/Go-Red-For-Women-2/facebook and click “Show My Support Now” on either the Facebook or Twitter tab (or both). Make sure and click “Show as my Profile Picture” so it will appear on your Personal page. Then share the Twibbon with your friends!
  • Send a Go Red For Women Gift on Facebook We’ve added a Go Red For Women Gifting Tab to several of our city Facebook pages (Dallas, Tarrant County, Little Rock, Denver and Houston). Head on over to the following pages and send your friends (at least five!) a virtual bear, pin, sneakers or heart checkup.
  • Tell Us Why You Go Red This year we’re inviting you to share with your community why you go red. To participate, simple download a copy of the Why Do You Go Red sheet, write out your motivation, snap a picture of you with the sign and upload it to your city or region Facebook page, or the Flickr group.

28 January 2011

Two Big Nutrition Announcements From the Past Week

Walmart's Healthier Foods Annoucement in D.C.

Last week, the American Heart Association was a part of two national announcements regarding nutrition and the community. On Thursday, Jan. 20, Wal-Mart announced a new comprehensive nutrition strategy for its packaged foods. The program includes five elements:

  1. Reformulating thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015 by reducing sodium 25 percent and added sugars 10 percent, and by removing all remaining industrially produced trans fats
  2. Making healthier choices more affordable
  3. Developing strong criteria for a simple front-of-package seal
  4. Providing solutions to address food deserts by building stores in underserved communities
  5. Increasing charitable support for nutrition programs

Watch a webcast of the announcement, see pictures and find out more about this initiative here.

On Jan. 21, a press conference was held to announce a new multi-industry voluntary agreement by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation that brings together leading food manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies to help America’s schools serve healthier meals at more affordable prices. As a result of these agreements, more than 30 million students across the country will have access to healthier school meals – including at least 14 million students who currently participate in the free and reduced lunch program.

Manufacturers including AdvancePierre Foods, Domino’s Pizza, JTM Food Group, McCain Foods USA, Rich Products Corporation, Schwan’s Food Service and Trident Seafoods pledge not to price healthy options out of reach of school cafeterias. Signatories will set prices for healthier items that meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s science-based standards for nutrition at prices no higher than less healthy comparable products. Participating manufacturers have also pledged to increase the sales of compliant products by to least 50 percent of their entire school sales within five years.

Manufacturers have committed to aggressively promote products that align with the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program standards and will help schools meet or exceed the requirements currently being finalized by the USDA. Product commitments fall in at least one of the following categories within the Alliance’s science-based guidelines for school foods:

  • Lean protein products, such as lean red meat, skinless poultry, lean deli meats, fat-free or low-fat cheese, beans, and tofu.
  • Low-fat lunch entrĂ©es with reduced total fat, saturated fat and sodium levels.
  • Whole-grain products, such as bread, pasta and pizza crust.
  • Fresh, canned or frozen fruit.
  • Non-fried vegetables.
  • Zero trans fat cooking oils.

In order to help schools take the first step in changing their purchasing process, the Alliance is collaborating with the technology firm Interflex to create an online tool that streamlines the procurement process by assisting schools with planning, bidding and purchasing healthier products. Dole Food Company, Inc. and the National Turkey Federation have also agreed to leverage their tools and resources to support schools in their implementation of this new approach to school meals.

Additional components in the Alliance’s school meals strategy to support food service professionals being launched over the next year will include in-person and online training programs, menu planning and cooking techniques and recipes from celebrity chefs to school food service staff.

Check out the program's new tools and find more information about the participating companies.

photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/walmartcorporate/5372892791/in/faves-58259602@N08/

25 January 2011

Projections for Cardiovascular Disease Costs Announced

Today, American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown unveiled the AHA's new long-term projections for cardiovascular disease prevalence and costs during a presentation at the National Press Club in Washington. The report, also released that day in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, for the first time projects the prevalence and cost of the nation's deadliest killer for a 20-year period and finds that major preventive action is needed to address the anticipated increases. Projections indicate an estimated tripling of costs, from $273 billion to $818 billion by 2030, due in part to an aging population.

To view other video clips of this announcement at the National Press Club, please visit www.heart.org/ForecastingCVD.

21 December 2010

Your Click Helps

CDW, a technology vendor is giving away $250,000 to several non-profits this month. They've already given nine organizations $10,000 each, but they want you to decide where the rest of the $250,000 donation goes.

Select the American Heart Association from their list, and they'll make a donation in your honor. Thank you for your partnership and help in this giving time of the year!

Happy Holidays!