Highlights from AHA's guide for community-wide cardiovascular health

February 03, 2003

DALLAS, Feb. 4 - A new statement from the American Heart Association provides a framework for community leaders, concerned healthcare providers, association volunteers, policy makers and anyone interested in reducing the burden of heart disease and stroke in the nations communities. Highlights from the association's Guide for Improving Cardiovascular Health at the Community Level:

Assessment
  • Make data available on the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) at the local level (city or county).
  • Within each community, identify groups defined by gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or geographic location that are at especially high risk of CVD.

    Education
  • Provide training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Teach students skills needed for healthful behaviors and teach parents to support those behaviors.
  • Include heart-healthy options in school meals.
  • Employers should promote increased physical activity in the day's work (e.g. stair climbing).
  • Modify educational materials in healthcare facilities to accommodate limited literacy, cultural and language diversity, and gender differences.

    Community Organization and Partnering
  • Identify organizations that can provide services and resources for CVD prevention and patient care.
  • Educate community organizations about effective, research-based preventive materials and services and make these materials and services available.

    Assuring Personal Health Services
  • Ensure access to screening, counseling and referral services for CVD risk factors.
  • Provide access to rehabilitation and risk factor control programs for CVD survivors.
  • Provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and training for emergency first responders.

    Environmental Change
  • Grocery stores and food markets should provide fruits, green and yellow vegetables, and grain products at reasonable costs.
  • Promote healthful foods at all food sources by methods such as point-of-purchase displays.
  • Every community should commit to providing safe and convenient means for walking and bicycling for transportation and recreation.
  • Schools should provide access to their physical activity space for all people outside of normal school hours.
  • Local or state ordinances should ban smoking in public places or limit it to separately ventilated areas.

    Policy Change
  • Increase unit price for tobacco products through local or state excise taxes.
  • Laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors should be enforced.
  • Preventive services and early outpatient cardiac rehabilitation should be covered by health insurance plans.
    -end-
    CONTACT: For journal copies only,
    please call: 214-706-1396
    For other information, call:
    Carole Bullock: 214-706-1279
    Maggie Francis: 214-706-1397

    American Heart Association

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