Guest blogger Kimberly Baptista, Event Planning Manager
Working for the American Heart Association has encouraged me to be more of a public health advocate. To my family and close friends that sentence might sound shocking, but over the past year the value of being an engaged advocate has become clearer.
Working here has given me insight into different issues, such as the connection between sugar-sweetened beverages and heart disease, the value in knowing CPR, and how the overall environment impacts the lifestyle choices we make. When you look at the food environment, the healthy choice is not always the easy choice. That’s why the AHA/ASA supports policies that help Americans make healthier diet choices, such as menu-labeling in restaurants and reducing trans fats and sodium in the food supply. Where you live should not determine how healthy you are or what food you can buy. Get the facts about the role of our physical environment and community health outcomes.
Lifesaving skills are also an important part of building healthier communities. Everyone should be taught the skills that could one day save a life, such as CPR. If given immediately, this easy-to-learn technique can double or triple a victim’s chances of survival. In a world where complications from heart disease is still the number one killer, all communities should be learning CPR.
For these reasons I have started to be more engaged in local initiatives that impact my community.
I have called, tweeted, and written letters to my local officials to share my passion for building a healthier community. We all have a responsibility to not only hold public officials accountable, but also ourselves, to make our neighborhoods safe and healthy. So next time, take the stairs instead of the elevator, pick fresh foods over processed foods, and choose water. Make the healthy choice your first choice as we work to make the healthy choice the easy choice.