Volunteers, survivors and advocates traveled to Pierre on Monday, February 9th for AHA Day at the Capitol to raise awareness for cardiovascular disease and stroke, and to share their concerns with lawmakers. With heart disease being our state's number one killer of adults, raising awareness and educating South Dakotans about the risk factors for these chronic diseases was a primary goal of the day.
Volunteers advocates took this opportunity to talk about the importance of learning CPR, reducing obesity in our state, and the importance of living an active lifestyle and paying attention to good nutrition.
One of the primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke is obesity. According to the State of Obesity Report, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, South Dakota ranks 21st in adult obesity with 29.9% of adults considered to be obese. Obesity is a primary risk factor for many other chronic diseases including diabetes and cancer. One of the bills we are supporting is HB 1032 which will improve safety for bicyclists on South Dakota roads. Better safety will encourage more active lifestyles, prevent obesity and the chronic diseases associated with it - like heart disease and stroke.
Advocates had the opportunity to hear from Secretary of Health Kim Malsam- Rysdon on South Dakota's risks for heart disease and stroke and where we rank on both adult and childhood obesity. We also partnered with the SD-EMS Association to host our annual legislative reception. More than 75 legislators stopped by to practice Hands Only CPR and talk with AHA staff and volunteers.
Throughout the month of February, Heart Month, legislators are encouraged to wear red to help raise awareness for heart disease and stroke.