Friday, July 24, 2009

Galveston Passes Strong Smoke-Free Law!

Last night, the Galveston City Council approved a smoke-free measure that will protect workers, residents and visitors from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

The new law makes every Galveston workplace smoke-free including restaurants, bars and private clubs.

The law will take effect January 1 as Galveston is will be among the 30 other Texas cities that enjoy smoke-free workplaces. Thanks to all the volunteers who called, emailed and testified in favor of this issue!

The Legislature Has Gone Home…Now What?

The 1st Called Session of the 81st Legislature lasted less than 48 hours and legislators should not have a reason to return to the Capitol until January 2011. The American Heart Association’s Advocacy team monitored the proceedings to ensure there were not any pieces of legislation impacting heart disease and stroke. Now that the legislative sessions are behind us, it is now time to get to work on implementing the successes of the past session.

Advocacy staff is already working with the Texas Education Agency regarding the implementation of Senate Bill 891 which defines physical education in all public schools. Additionally, Advocacy staff is working with the Texas Department of State Health Services to implement and utilize the recently secured $1 million dollars for the Texas Council on Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke. Discussions are underway with AHA volunteers on the Council, agency staff and AHA staff on cardiovascular disease and stroke programs that may be impacted by these funds.

Both the funding and the new Physical Education definition become effective September 1, 2009 so we have our work cut out for us. As we go through the regulatory process there will be plenty of opportunity for you, our volunteers and champions, to engage these legislative and regulatory leaders. Thanks to your efforts, the American Heart Association has made significant strides to impact heart disease and stroke with these two key legislative victories.

Stay tuned for continued updates and again, thank you for making these successes possible!

Smoke Free Texas Update

As the summer months continue to provide us plenty of Texas warm weather, the Texas Advocacy staff continues the effort to ensure more Texans are covered by a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance.

The Smoke Free Texas Coalition is reenergizing and coalition members such as the American Heart Association will be working on local ordinances throughout Texas to ensure our voices are heard and elected officials are well versed on what a strong law looks like.

Additionally, we will begin legislative visits with members of the Texas House and Senate over the next few months and will be calling upon you to join us at these visits, town hall meetings, and other events to raise awareness about the impacts of second hand smoke on cardiovascular disease.

Thank you for your continued support and if you should have any questions regarding Smoke Free Texas please contact Joel Romo at

Congress Moves Closer to Increasing Funding for NIH research.

In July a Congressional subcommittee approved a 3.1% increase in research for the National Institute of Health. In a statement AHA President Clyde Yancy, M.D. commended the committee for their work:

“This increase, during these tough economic times, demonstrates a renewed national commitment to sustained and predictable funding growth for biomedical research. We urge the committee to maintain stable funding for 2011 when the temporary resources from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire,” Yancy said


What Moves U Challenge receives health information award


The What Moves U Challenge – a joint program of the American Heart Association and National Football League – has been honored with a National Health Information Award. The awards recognize the nation’s best consumer health information programs and materials.

The What Moves U Challenge received a Silver Award in the “Total Health Information Program” category. It was chosen from more than 1,000 entries judged by a national panel of health information experts.

The awards program is coordinated by the Health Information Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for consumer health information programs and materials.

Adult obesity rose in 23 states last year

Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states last year, and didn’t decline in any, according to a new report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to the report:

· Mississippi had the highest obesity rate, 32.5 percent, for the fifth year in a row
· Texas is the 14th most obese at 27.9% for adults.
· The childhood obesity rate is higher at 32.2% which ranks 20th among all states.

According to the report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009,” obesity-related costs to Medicare and Medicaid are likely to grow significantly as the Baby Boomer generation ages, because of the large number of people in this population, the high rate of obesity and obesity’s negative health impact.

See F as in Fat 2009.

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