A Look at the Latest Top Stories from the American Heart Association

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association (AHA) works to reduce death caused by heart disease and stroke. As part of these efforts, the organization partners with government agencies, lawmakers, and other nonprofit groups to inform public policy and create health-promoting initiatives that benefit people of all ages.

The AHA’s latest activities have been directed toward several specific groups, including young people, women, and Native Americans. Read on to learn about all the latest news from the AHA.

 

Warning against the Consumption of Sugary Drinks

In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the AHA recently released a joint policy statement endorsing a suite of public health measures aimed at reducing the consumption of sugary drinks among the nation’s youth. According to the statement’s authors, American children and adolescents consume over 30 gallons of sugar-laden beverages each year. The consumption of added sugars has been linked to numerous health problems, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

To reduce children’s access to cheap sugary drinks, the AAP and AHA recommend several broad policy solutions to be implemented on the local, state, and national levels. These include recommendations to increase public education and decrease the marketing of sugary drinks to children and teens. The AAP and AHA’s joint policy statement also recommends raising the price of sugar-laden beverages via an excise tax.

 

New Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Guideline

CPRThe AHA and American College of Cardiology (ACC) recently outlined the key recommendations of the latest Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease guideline. The guideline, which was released during ACC’s 68th Annual Scientific Sessions, provides practical recommendations for reducing one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and associated issues such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

The lifestyle recommendations outlined in the guideline include eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco products. The ACC and AHA also advise that clinicians use caution when prescribing preventative aspirin use to people without known cardiovascular disease.

 

Fighting to End Tobacco and Nicotine Use

For several decades, one of the major policy priorities of the AHA has been focused on drastically reducing tobacco use and exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke. Recently, the organization released a new policy statement that outlines what health care providers and the public health community must do to achieve what the statement’s authors call the “tobacco endgame.”

In addition to minimizing the use of combustible tobacco products, the statement calls for close examination of e-cigarette use, a trend which is particularly prevalent among youth. Specific actions highlighted in the statement include strengthening government oversight of tobacco and nicotine products. This includes enhancing the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations concerning the manufacture, design, and marketing of both combustible tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

 

Improving Heart Attack Care

As one of the nation’s top accreditation and certification organizations, the AHA oversees various initiatives to improve patient care. Many of these programs are based on AHA’s clinical guidelines covering various cardiac disease and stroke topics. Together with the health care evaluation organization The Joint Commission, the Association has developed new certifications for hospitals that treat stroke and cardiac patients.

Beginning in July 2019, hospitals can begin working toward the Primary Heart Attack Center (PHAC) and Acute Heart Attack Ready (AHAR) certifications. In addition to recognizing hospitals for providing consistent, evidence-based heart attack and stroke care, the PHAC and AHAR certifications support the AHA’s efforts to save lives by promoting health care excellence worldwide.

 

New Campaign Supports Native Nutrition

fruitSince 2015, the AHA has worked with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) to support efforts aimed at Native-led dietary health advocacy. As part of this work, the AHA and SMSC have recently partnered with First Nations Development Institute and the American Indian Cancer Foundation to launch the Policy Innovation Fund.

Focused on improving nutrition and reducing health disparities in Native American communities, the $1.6-million fund will provide grants that tribes and Native-led organizations can use for nutrition and health policy initiatives at the tribal, state, and national levels. Administrators of the Policy Innovation Fund are in the process of soliciting proposals for competitive grants ranging from $75,000 to $100,000.

 

Research Goes Red Initiative

Through its Go Red for Women movement and other initiatives, the AHA raises awareness and funds lifesaving research focused on ending heart disease and stroke among women. During American Heart Month in February 2019, the Association announced the launch of the Research Goes Red initiative, which aims to engage women in valuable scientific research in the area of heart health.

Launched in collaboration with Verily’s Project Baseline, Research Goes Red will leverage the AHA’s Go Red for Women community to invite women nationwide to share their health information and volunteer for clinical research projects. The initiative supports the overall goals of Project Baseline, which seeks to improve lives by driving health care innovation.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

children

This Is How Boys and Girls Clubs Prioritize Child Safety

boysandgirlsclubAs one of the country’s most well-known and trusted youth organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) takes its commitment to child safety in all of its programs extremely seriously. No individual or group is entirely immune from danger. However, BGCA has comprehensive protection measures in place to shield Club youth from anything that puts them at risk.

The organization also maintains a zero-tolerance policy that enforces its safety guidelines. This ensures that all Club staff, volunteers, and members adhere to the highest standards of ethical and safe behavior.

Moreover, BGCA advances programs and initiatives that focus specifically on protecting and supporting marginalized or overlooked kids and teens. Over the years, the group has taken an active role outside of Club doors to combat child abuse and promote safety within all youth organizations.

Its past work includes advocating for the passage of the US Protect Act and partnering with the FBI and other organizations on various youth-protection initiatives. Keep reading to learn more about BGCA’s commitment to child safety.

 

The BGCA Safety Plan

At the core of BGCA’s work to protect and support Club members is a multi-step plan that adheres to the latest best practices in youth safety. It was developed by BGCA’s Child and Club Safety Department. This provides local Clubs with support for issues ranging from physical and emotional safety to facilities management and emergency and disaster preparedness.

The plan starts by requiring that all staff members at its more than 4,300 Clubs nationwide undergo a comprehensive criminal background check. This includes screening through the National Sex Offender Registry.

The same checks are required of all BGCA board members and any volunteer who has direct contact with Club youth. Any potential employee or volunteer who has ever been convicted of a felony or recently convicted of a misdemeanor involving physical assault or battery, drugs, or animal cruelty is not eligible to work with BGCA on any level.

Another major component of BGCA’s safety plan focuses on providing ongoing child safety training for both staff and volunteers. The training is delivered through seminars, webinars, and conferences.

Each year, the organization takes a lead role in the National Child Safety and Protection Symposium. This event gives groups from across the United States the opportunity to share best practices for protecting the country’s youth.

Along with participating in regular safety training, all BGCA affiliates must maintain comprehensive safety policies and procedures. To ensure that the policies elevate safety to the highest level, each Club conducts annual assessments and oversees a board-led committee focused specifically on youth safety.

In addition to helping local Clubs carry out safety policies, these committees assist with critical incident reporting to local law enforcement and national BGCA authorities. The actions, strategies, goals, and objectives of the local committees are further managed by regional Board of Governors Safety Committees comprising BGCA staff members and other stakeholders.

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Additional Safety Resources

On the national level, BGCA provides access to a variety of additional resources to reinforce local policies and promote a culture of safety among all Club affiliates. This includes the National Child Safety Advisory Task Force.

The task force brings BGCA leadership and child safety experts together to advance safety initiatives and provide guidance to local Club leaders. All BGCA affiliates have access to an online tool that enables them to self-assess their own safety plans at any time.

Additional resources include the 200-page Keep Safe: The Club Safety Desk Reference manual. It offers tools and guidance for creating customized safety strategies in local Clubs.

BGCA also publishes a guide of safety awareness activities and maintains a 24-hour safety hotline. This enables Club staff members, volunteers, and youth to report concerns and/or receive confidential safety advice.

 

Boys and Girls Clubs’ Commitment to Vulnerable Youth

In its efforts to lead the way in child safety advocacy, BGCA places a special emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable youth populations. The organization’s work in this area includes several initiatives designed to give kids and teens in need a safe place to develop meaningful relationships while building the skills required to attain success.

One of these initiatives is Be There. It equips Clubs with the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide safe and supportive environments for grieving youth and their families.

Other BGCA initiatives are focused more specifically on inclusion. Through a combination of on-site and online training as well as ongoing coaching and counseling, the organization guides Club managers and staff members in providing a safe, positive, and inclusive environment for all children. This includes those living with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities.

Additionally, BGCA works to ensure equity and inclusion for LGBTQ youth, who account for 16 percent of Club teens. The organization’s leadership considers its efforts in this area essential to its broader mission to give every child and teen access to an out-of-school environment where they can feel safe both physically and emotionally.

To learn more about BGCA’s commitment to youth safety, visit www.bgca.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.