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Bringing Lifesaving Lessons to Idaho Schools

 

Guest Blogger: Adrean Cavener, Government Relations Director

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in one of the American Heart Association’s signature events, the Heart Walk.  I was able to talk to hundreds of parents to ask them to support putting physical education and CPR training in Idaho schools.  The number one question I was asked: “PE isn’t in our schools already?!?!”  Simply put, no.  While there are many school districts that are doing PE because they know it’s the right thing, there is no minimum requirement for elementary or junior high/middle school.  And for high school, local districts are required to offer PE as an elective, but it is not required for graduation on a statewide level. 

We are out to change that. Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Some experts claim that by 2015, 75% of adults will be overweight with 41% obese. (Kaplan JP, et. al. Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up? Institute of Med. Washington, DC: National Acad. Press, 2007.) The American Heart Association, along with other partner organizations, is advocating to add minimum weekly and graduation PE requirements to all levels of Idaho education.

We also want to train Idaho students to be lifesavers.  Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the US and sadly, approximately 94 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.  Effective bystander CPR can double or triple a victim’s change of survival.  Studies show 80% of cardiac arrests happen in the home, so the person a trained bystander might save could likely be a loved one. That’s why we are working with the Board of Education to incorporate CPR training in to the Idaho high school curriculum and ensure that every student knows what do to in a medical emergency.   

If this sounds interesting to you, and you’d like to help, contact me (adrean.cavener@heart.org)!

 

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