That's a wrap! The Iowa Legislature concluded session this month and with that we bring you a list of successes from the Capitol that will help the hearts of Iowans!
- CHILDHOOD OBESITY PREVENTION
This session along with our partners from the United Way of Central Iowa, Healthiest State Initiative, Well Kids coalition and many other health partners, we advocated to save funding for obesity prevention throughout our state. We were able to show the value of the 5210, Childhood Obesity Prevention program. This is a huge victory for our state and our heart disease and stroke prevention efforts. To find out more about the program, CLICK HERE.
- PHYSICAL EDUCATION STANDARDS
Members of the State Board of Education adopted new physical education and health standards for students in kindergarten through high school. The board adopted, based on the Iowa PE Standards team’s recommendations, statewide standards that will provide a foundation for Iowa school districts to implement high-quality health and physical education programs. "Physical education and health are an integral part of a full education," said board president Brooke Axiotis. "Academic standards in these two disciplines strengthen instruction and help students build knowledge and skills to be healthy and active for life."
The Physical Education and Health Standards Review Team, comprised of Iowa health and physical education teachers, administrators, teacher leaders and community organizations including the AHA recommended that Iowa’s standards come from the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America standards and the National Health Education Standards.
- PHYSICAL EDUCATION ASSESSMENT
We once again introduced Physical Education assessment legislation that passed out of House Education subcommittee. This legislation will help school districts assess the needs, resources and policies around PE to help meet the needs of their students. Given the growing number of children with unhealthy behaviors, we are trying to do more at the community level this summer and fall to work on local PE assessment policies that will lead to a state effort with our partners from Iowa Physical Education Teachers Association (SHAPE). We plan to continue to work with the Department of Education on doing an assessment that will help implement the PE standards adopted this year.
- CARE ACT
After 5 years, we passed the Care Act arming caregivers with the information they need to care for their loved ones. in collaboration with AARP. The 2019 Iowa CARE Act will make sure there is a standard and expectation that all Iowa hospitals give the opportunity for patients to designate, involve, and prepare family caregivers (317,000+ in Iowa) for the medical care so many are expected to provide at home. The majority of Iowa long term care is provided by these family, unpaid caregivers. The CARE Act has now been adopted by nearly 40 states, with our neighbor, North Dakota’s Governor signing the bill earlier this year. Research from several of those states has found a reduction in hospital re-admissions attributable to the CARE Act.
- TOBACCO PREVENTION AND CONTROL
This year we took on Big Tobacco with our tobacco control partners from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and Clean Air for Everyone CAN through securing 10 co-sponsors for the tobacco tax initiative. We made some great progress on educating lawmakers on the need to increase the tax and the impact it could have on youth smoking. Unfortunately, we also had to combat an extremely weak Tobacco 21 bill that would have done more harm then good in regard to tobacco and e-cigarette use among youth. We did receive level funding for the Iowa Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and in a year when we saw cuts to many different programs, we will take this as a success! Big Tobacco was in full force trying to push their agenda this year so we will be working to help educate the public on effective tobacco control initiatives in the interim.
- DEFENDING MEDICAID AND FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
There were several bills introduced this session that would put heart and stroke patients and their families at risk for medic aid coverage and food assistance programs. We fought to protect these families from being excluded from this legislation and fortunately these bills died in the legislative process. We had a lot of discussions with legislators to understand the complexity of these issues and will continue this education after session.