Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 4 causes of death in Alabama. One way the American Heart Association fights these leading killers is by promoting policies that help prevent and treat heart disease and stroke. On September 29, the American Heart Association Alabama Advocacy Committee voted on the organization's 2017-18 public policy agenda for the state.
This year, the American Heart Association will advocate to:
- Incorporate nutrition, active play, and screen time standards into the state child care licensing structure for licensed child care centers and licensed home-based child care providers. Young children who eat healthy foods, stay active, and limit daily screen time are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and have the potential for lifelong health. That’s something we can all get behind: giving all kids the building blocks for a healthy life.
- Secure public funding for Alabama Healthy Food Initiative Program, in order for more grocery stores and other healthy food venues to receive financing assistance. By making seed money available to such vendors, we can help food retailers to open in underserved communities across the state - both rural and urban - and sell healthy food options.
- Adopt comprehensive state and local smokefree policies that cover all workplaces including restaurants and bars. This will help eliminate the public health threat of secondhand exposure in the workplace.
- Maintain current funding for statewide cessation services, as well as maintain prevention funding appropriated to the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
- Increase the state tobacco tax. Studies reveal this is an effective way to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among children.
- Develop and establish statewide STEMI and Stroke Systems of Care. We want to ensure that when STEMI (most deadly type of heart attack) and stroke patients receive the right care at the right time to ensure a better chance of survival. We urge decision makers to enact statewide standards for the formal recognition of STEMI and stroke facility designations and the development of transport protocols, as well as formally enact statewide standards for the development of STEMI and stroke registries.
- Require all 9-1-1 telecommunicators that provide dispatch for emergency medical conditions to be trained in the delivery of high-quality telephone CPR. Did you know that if you call 9-1-1 in Alabama, the dispatcher cannot instruct you on how to perform CPR? Let's change this!
We hope you'll support us in these advocacy efforts! Stay tuned for future You're the Cure alerts about how you can help. If you haven't yet, we invite you to become a You're the Cure advocate today at www.yourethecure.org/join.