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2017: A Look at Advocacy in the States

In the early days of January 2017, many state legislative sessions across the country initiated their 2017 sessions and others are preparing to kick off over the next few weeks.

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The 2017 State Advocacy agenda, as in years past, is comprised of a diverse set of issues in order to meet the needs of communities across the country. AHA staff, volunteers and partners are fast at work to advocate for policies that help Americans enjoy healthier and longer lives, free of heart disease and stroke. Here’s a sneak peek at the 2017 State Agenda.

In the fight against tobacco, many states and communities are working on smoke-free laws and efforts to increase tobacco taxes. Campaigns to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21 continue to sweep across the country, and states are working to increase much needed funding for tobacco control and prevention. Ensuring access to care is critical to heart disease and stroke prevention, and states will advocate to increase benefits for preventive care, access to tobacco cessation services and expand access to affordable healthcare coverage. Our states and communities must be prepared and equipped to respond rapidly to brain or heart events, and several states are working to build out comprehensive and coordinated systems of care. Additionally, states and communities will continue efforts to assure that all students are trained in CPR prior high school graduation requirement.

To help Americans eat healthier, states will focus on healthy food choices in public places, healthy food access initiatives, removing sugary beverages from kids’ meals, removing unhealthy food marketing in schools and increasing sugary drink taxes. States are also turning their attention to early care and education and ensuring the youngest members of society eat healthy and are physically active in these environments. Getting people moving is another area of focus for states. Ample and quality physical education in schools along with ensuring students can walk or bike safely to school are a few of the active living priorities. States are also working on policies to support active transportation by assuring their communities are walking and biking friendly. Woven throughout all these campaigns are efforts to secure public funding for public health initiatives targeted at heart disease, stroke and related risk factors, and the disparities that exist in these areas.

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