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Oklahoma receives funding from CDC and AHA

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From left, Calley Herth, Communications Director, and Naomi Amaha, Government Relations Director, with the American Heart Association, on the 4th floor rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol.  Naomi is a lobbyest for the OHA advocating for heart health policies.  mh
  • From left, Calley Herth, Communications Director, and Naomi Amaha, Government Relations Director, with the American Heart Association, on the 4th floor rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Naomi is a lobbyest for the OHA advocating for heart health policies. mh

According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oklahoma ranks 50th in the nation for fruit consumption and 44th for vegetable consumption.

Eating fruits and vegetables could lower the risk of some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and obesity, all things that affect numerous Oklahomans on a daily basis.

It’s these statistics that put the Sooner State at the top of the list when the CDC recently announced it was offering six funding awards to prevent chronic disease and encourage healthy lifestyles. The American Heart Association (AHA) was selected to help carry out the campaign.

“The Oklahoma City market was selected to work on implementing local programs to improve nutrition and access to healthy options,” said Calley McGehee Herth, director of communications for the Oklahoma City American Heart Association.

The AHA is best known for its recent efforts to improve the cardiovascular health of America, with a goal of reducing death from heart diseases and strokes by 20 percent by 2020. It is also known for its CPR training, popular heart-healthy cookbooks and outreach campaigns to fight obesity in children.

“The American Heart Association wants everyone to understand the threat and to know that cardiovascular diseases are largely preventable,” Herth said. “Risks can be lowered by adhering to what we call Life’s Simple 7: not smoking, being physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthy diet, controlling blood pressure, controlling cholesterol and controlling blood sugar.”

With the funding from the CDC, the AHA will strengthen and implement new local programs that are aimed to help reduce tobacco use and exposure, improve nutrition and increase physical activity.

“[Oklahoma City was selected] to receive this grant in part due to [its] recent commitment to nutrition and healthy lifestyles,” Herth said. “The state as a whole has considerable lengths to go in order to see improvement in health, and that made the area a great place to put forth this effort. Given the market’s previous receptivity to adopting healthy changes and commitment to getting recommended exercise, we feel optimistic about the city’s population taking part in the upcoming changes.”

Print headline: Heart smart, The CDC and the American Heart Association team up to change Oklahoma’s nutrition standards.

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