vaping

Your Look at the New AHA Initiative to “End the Lies” about Vaping

As one of the nation’s leading organizations dedicated to improving public health, the American Heart Association (AHA) has a long history of supporting lifesaving research and advocating for positive lifestyle changes. Over the course of its nearly 100-year history, the group’s advocacy work has focused on several areas, including the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet and the dangers of tobacco. The AHA’s role in strengthening tobacco oversight led to the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which enhanced tobacco regulation and curbed the use of misleading tobacco advertisements.

With the rising popularity of vaping, the Association has redirected its focus in recent years to highlight the dangers that e-cigarettes and other vape products pose to public health, particularly the health of young people. As part of this work, the AHA recently launched the End the Lies Youth Vaping and Nicotine Research Initiative, a $20-million effort exploring nicotine’s effect on youth health.

The Association is also partnering with other groups to strengthen vaping laws and regulations in order to prevent underage users from obtaining nicotine products. Keep reading to get a closer look at vaping’s effect on one’s health and what the AHA is doing to prevent nicotine addiction.

 

Vaping and Your Health

While e-cigarettes have been marketed as a healthy alternative to traditional tobacco products, the effects of vaping on cardiovascular health are not well understood. The vapors inhaled through e-cigarettes and similar products indeed contain fewer chemicals than traditional tobacco; however, many toxins, metals, and contaminants are still present in e-cigarettes, and most vaping products still contain nicotine, which is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical.

Vape liquids also present a poisoning risk if they are ingested or absorbed through the skin, and recent cases of vaping-related lung diseases and death underscore the importance of bridging the knowledge gap between what is and is not known about vaping. That’s where the AHA’s End the Lies Initiative comes in.

 

Advancing Research

As the name suggests, the End the Lies Youth Vaping and Nicotine Research Initiative is focused on advancing research into how vaping affects physical health. The initiative is aimed at several priority areas, including:

  • Examining vaping’s effects on adolescent brain development and learning
  • Exploring how vape product flavors and other enhancements influence addiction
  • Discovering what effects nicotine and vape chemicals have on the cardiovascular system
  • Establishing whether vape products are effective tools for smoking cessation

In addition, the End the Lies Initiative will direct funding toward research into youth nicotine addiction treatment. Funding will also be used to examine how legislative policies can reduce vaping among young people.

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Advocating for Regulation and Oversight

Through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente and the Preventing Youth Nicotine Addiction Policy Fund, the AHA is advocating for stronger vaping laws and regulations on the local, state, and national levels. Policy efforts are focused on including e-cigarettes in smoke-free laws and restricting tobacco sales to those 21 years and older, a policy that is currently in place in 19 states and Washington, DC. Other policy priorities include raising tax rates on e-cigarettes and prohibiting vape-related marketed directed at young people.

 

Tackling False Industry Claims

In addition to ensuring that lawmakers do their part in the fight against nicotine addiction, the AHA is using its End the Lies Initiative to call out e-cigarette companies for their false claims and manipulative marketing tactics. These marketing tactics have contributed to a significant increase in vaping among youth. In fact, recent statistics show a steady increase in vaping among high school and middle school students since 2016. Today, it’s estimated that more than 5 million teens use vape products.

A key tool the AHA is using to tackle false industry claims is its website Quitlying.org. Launched in early 2020, the site features vaping facts versus lies, as well as other educational information. Teachers can turn to the site for a variety learning resources, including lesson plans, infographics, and fact sheets. Quitlying.org also provides links to vaping resources for parents, health professionals, and youth.

 

Engaging Community Members

Along with providing vaping education, Quitlying.org serves as a community engagement platform that encourages young people to raise awareness of the dangers associated with e-cigarettes. On the site, users can access memes and tips for spreading the word about vaping on social media. Users can also take action by signing a letter telling vaping companies to stop lying and encouraging members of US Congress to enact policies protecting youth.

Additionally, Quitlying.org keeps young people informed of in-person events held as part of the #QuitLying campaign. Throughout early 2020, young people across the country held activities in partnership with schools and other community organizations. Youth activists have also established school and community forums to engage their peers in the vaping conversation.

More information about the AHA’s efforts to curb nicotine use is available at www.heart.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. 

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A Complete Look at the AHA’s Latest Diet and Lifestyle Tips

For nearly a century, the American Heart Association (AHA) has been focused on helping people live healthier lives. The organization does this by supporting research and advancing treatments in the areas of cardiovascular and stroke care.

In addition, the AHA serves as a public resource for people looking to better their health through diet and lifestyle choices. Keep reading to learn more about the AHA’s most recent diet and lifestyle recommendations.

 

Focus on Nutrition from All the Food Groups

For many people, eating enough food is not a problem, but they may still lack some of the vital nutrients needed to make them feel their best. To ensure that you’re getting the right nutrition, the AHA recommends that you follow a diet comprising healthy food choices from every food group. This includes a variety of fruits and vegetables with every meal and snack. The AHA also reminds people that all forms of vegetables are great options, including those that are fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.

In addition to promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, the AHA recommends that people make whole grains, skinless fish and poultry, low-fat dairy products, and nuts and legumes a part of their daily diet. Moreover, beans and other legumes can be especially beneficial because they are a great source of protein, minerals, and fiber, but they don’t contain the saturated fat found in some animal proteins. Beans can also help you feel full longer and may even reduce blood cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Finally, the AHA reminds people that healthier fats should be included as part of a well-rounded diet. These include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have been associated with better heart health. The AHA points out that some great sources of these types of fats are certain cooking oils, including olive, canola, safflower, and soybean.

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Read Nutrition Labels and Cut out the Junk Food

As many people know, following a healthy diet is as much about what you don’t eat as it is about what you do eat. The AHA recommends carefully reading nutrition labels to avoid foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients. Reading nutrition labels is the best way to avoid consuming high levels of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium, which have all been tied to heart disease.

To make it easier for people to identify nutrient-dense foods while avoiding junk calories, the AHA provides a nutrition label guide on its website. The guide outlines each section of the Nutrition Facts label, from the “Amount per Serving” information at the top to the “% Daily Value” at the bottom.

Finally, the AHA reminds consumers that the information shown on the Nutrition Facts label is based on a 2,000-calorie per day diet, which is a baseline target that is not appropriate for everyone.

 

Burn the Calories You Take in

Knowing how many calories you should be eating and drinking each day to maintain your weight is based on several factors, including your age, gender, and level of physical activity. The AHA points out that avoiding weight gain can be as simple as burning at least as many calories as you consume each day. To help keep the weight off, you can burn more calories by increasing the amount and/or intensity of your physical activity.

As a baseline, the AHA suggests that all people aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. The AHA’s recommendations are based on the 2nd edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, published by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Scientific evidence supports that there is a strong connection between physical activity and healthy weight as well as disease prevention and overall health and well-being.

The AHA offers several tips to add more activity to your daily routine. This includes parking farther away from your destination and opting to take the stairs rather than the elevator. The AHA also outlines several options for both moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity aerobic activities. Brisk walking, dancing, and gardening all fall into the moderate-intensity category, while activities such as running, jumping rope, and cycling over 10 miles per hour are all considered vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises.

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Avoid Tobacco/Vaping

For many years, the AHA has been working hard to help people quit tobacco, a product that puts them at a much higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Today, in addition to focusing on traditional tobacco products, the AHA warns against the dangers of vaping, which health officials have recently connected to many cases of serious medical problems. To help people avoid the dangerous health effects associated with tobacco and vaping, the AHA raises awareness of the dangers and provides tips for quitting.

The organization’s five steps to quit smoking are as follows:

  1. Set your “Quit Day.”
  2. Choose your quitting method.
  3. Talk to your doctor for assistance.
  4. Make a plan for going forward after quitting.
  5. Quit tobacco for good starting with your Quit Day.

More information about these steps and the AHA’s other tips for healthy living are available at www.heart.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended nor 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.

woman

Go Red For Women – What You Need to Know

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For nearly a century, the American Heart Association (AHA) has been fighting heart disease and stroke by funding innovative research and providing critical tools and information to help people take control of their heart health. The AHA’s work since 1924 has led to research investments exceeding $4 billion. The Association has also established various public programs supported by a nationwide network of more than 3,400 employees and 30 million volunteers.

In the early 2000s, the AHA began expanding its efforts to raise awareness about women’s health and cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. Much of the AHA’s work in this area is driven by Go Red For Women, a health-based awareness initiative now in its second decade. Read on to learn more about the initiative and how it empowers women to lead healthier lives.

Addressing a Serious Threat to Women’s Health

When the American Heart Association launched Go Red For Women in 2004, more than a half million American women were dying from cardiovascular disease each year. Despite its impact on female health, however, many people still viewed heart disease as a problem that only men and older adults had to worry about. For many years, this erroneous view of heart disease and risk was further propagated by researchers who made men the subject of the heart disease studies that informed early treatment guidelines and programs.

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Although public awareness of heart disease among women has improved, a significant knowledge gap still exists. In fact, nearly half of all women are unaware that heart disease is their gender’s leading cause of death. Even more women lack basic knowledge of how risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure affect their heart health. While many women are taking steps to get healthier, their unawareness of their risk of heart disease persists.

How Does Go Red For Women Help?

With approximately one woman dying from heart disease every minute, Go Red For Women’s main goal is to save lives. As part of the initiative, the AHA provides information on a variety of heart-related topics at GoRedforWomen.org. Visitors to the website can explore sections covering congenital heart defects, atherosclerosis, and heart disease prevention. The site also lists heart disease myths and statistics and includes links to educational tools and resources that women can use to live heart healthy.

In addition to educating women through its website, the Go Red For Women initiative provides continuing medical education to help healthcare providers improve heart health among their female patients. Funds raised through the initiative also support heart disease research and community programs such as the Go Red Heart CheckUp, which has educated more than 2 million women nationwide about their heart disease risk. Through these and other activities, Go Red For Women supports the broader AHA mission, including its goal to reduce heart-disease-related death and disabilities among Americans by 20 percent by the year 2020.

What Does It Mean to Go Red?

Since Go Red For Women launched, over 900,000 women have joined the initiative in order to improve their health. Women who “go red” eat healthily, exercise regularly, manage stress, and stay informed about their heart-health numbers by visiting their doctors for regular checkups. They also follow their doctors’ advice, taking medications and any other steps needed to improve their health.

Along with taking action for themselves, members of the Go Red For Women community work to improve public health by advocating for heart disease prevention. The initiative provides tools that participants can use to teach others healthy habits and promote access to quality, affordable healthcare. Go Red advocates take action through AHA initiatives such as You’re the Cure, which urges the US Congress to prioritize funding for heart disease and stroke research and prevention programs.

Ways to Support Go Red For Women

The best thing that people can do to support the Go Red initiative is to learn their heart numbers and take steps to improve their cardiovascular health using the information, tools, and resources available through the American Heart Association. Supporters can also make a donation or raise awareness about the initiative by joining a local Go Red meetup group or simply wearing their favorite red clothes.

Each year, the Go Red For Women community also hosts various fundraisers and awareness events, including National Wear Red Day. Supported by corporate sponsors such as Macy’s and CVS Pharmacy, National Wear Red Day brings men and women together on the first Friday in February to educate the public and raise awareness about the importance of heart disease prevention and screening.

Other Go Red For Women activities includes Macy’s Red Dress Collection event, an annual fundraiser held during New York Fashion Week. In 2018, Marisa Tomei hosted the event, which featured models and celebrities such as Kathy Ireland, Melissa Joan Hart, and Niki Taylor walking in Macy’s dresses designed for the Go Red For Women initiative.

More information about Go Red For Women programs and activities is available at http://www.goredforwomen.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.

Top 4 Ways Goodwill Is Promoting Better Education Nationwide

Thanks to its various social services programs, the reach of Goodwill Industries extends far beyond its thrift stores. The organization uses the money it generates from sales of donated items to help people improve their lives and become valuable members of their communities.

With much of its focus on ensuring that individuals are positioned for future success, Goodwill has had education as one of its programming priorities since it first launched well over a century ago. Today, the nonprofit group remains focused on providing valuable learning opportunities for people of all ages.

Here are some of the top ways that Goodwill promotes education in the hundreds of communities it serves throughout the United States:

 

  1. Providing Free Learning Opportunities

One of Goodwill’s most accessible learning programs is offered at GCFLearnFree.org, a free educational website launched by the Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC Inc. On the site, visitors can access a library of more than 2,000 lessons covering over 180 topics in areas such as technology, literacy, and math. To enhance each lesson, the site also features over 800 educational videos and 55 interactive games and activities.

Some of the academic topics covered at GCFLearnFree include basic addition and subtraction, English grammar, algebra, and reading. Much of the site, however, is focused on helping people build 21st-century skills. The subjects taught in this area range from computer basics and email to digital photography, cloud computing, and graphic design. In addition, GCFLearnFree includes a number of tutorials on Microsoft Office programs.

Along with the tech tutorials and lessons in reading and math, the site provides resources for career support and everyday living. The tutorials and interactive lessons in these areas focus on career planning, job search, and money management. Lessons on work skills, food and cooking, and health and safety are also available.

 

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  1. Educating Adults Who Are Pursuing Their High School Diplomas

While recent statistics show a reduction in high school dropout rates nationwide, approximately 30 million American adults are still without diplomas, and another 3 million people drop out each year. Goodwill organizations throughout the country are doing their part to help these individuals finish their high school education by providing various programs and resources in local communities.

Many Goodwill locations oversee adult learning centers or provide no-cost adult education classes that prepare adult learners for the GED exam. In Indiana, which has one of the highest dropout rates in the country, Goodwill Industries, Inc., launched The Excel Center, a tuition-free public high school for adults. With drop-in childcare, supportive staff, and flexible scheduling that includes both day and night classes, The Excel Center is designed specifically for adults working to earn their diplomas while keeping up with work and family responsibilities.

The success of the original Center site in Indianapolis led Goodwill to open additional locations in Indiana along with other sites in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Washington, DC. In the Indiana location’s first decade, more than 3,000 adults earned their high school diplomas through The Goodwill Excel Center. Nearly all (97 percent) of the Center’s graduates also went on to earn college credits or job-related certifications.

 

  1. 3. Ensuring Young People Have the Knowledge and Skills to Succeed

In addition to assisting adult learners, Goodwill organizations nationwide work with various community partners to promote youth education. Examples include Goodwill Industries of Denver, which works with several area schools to educate and prepare at-risk students for their future careers. The organization’s youth programs provide education and training in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. Goodwill of Denver also provides mentoring to help students prepare for and succeed in college.

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Michigan (SEMI) is another organization that is dedicated to helping local youth. Over the years, SEMI has partnered with businesses and other nonprofits to support community literacy projects. In 2017, the organization distributed more than 7.5 tons of children’s books throughout the community. SEMI also helps lead the Read to Feed program, which provides books for area schools that collect food for local food pantries.

 

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  1. Leading the Way in Career-Related Education

As part of its efforts to help people overcome barriers to employment, Goodwill Industries directs a large percentage of its resources toward career-related education. At the Goodwill Career and Technical Academy in Austin, Texas, individuals can pursue career certifications in numerous industries, including health care, technology, and business. The Academy also offers accelerated certification programs in skilled construction trades.

Alongside local work-related programs, Goodwill oversees several national initiatives to educate American workers. Many of Goodwill’s activities in recent years have focused on equipping people with the digital skills needed in the modern workforce.

In 2017, the organization launched the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator, a Google-funded initiative that will ultimately help over 1 million people learn computer support, programming, and other tech-related skills. Goodwill is also partnering with Google and Coursera to help prepare people age 17 and older for careers in IT support.