(RxWiki News) The American Heart Association (AHA) has published a statement outlining the important role of advocacy in maintaing heart health during times of economic hardship.
The AHA's federal policy issues for 2011 include, among others: advocating for more funding and looking for new avenues of funding for National Institute of Health (NIH) research and initiatives; endorsing the reauthorization of the FIT Kids Act to ensure kids are active during school days; funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) heart disease and stroke prevention programs; and more stringent nutrition standards for foods sold in schools and served in school cafeterias.
The statement presents the AHA's 2011 recommendations as lawmakers face difficult budget decisions, which could include major cuts for heart disease and stroke research and prevention initiatives. The report focuses on the role of patient-centered advocacy to support research efforts and prevention programs because heart disease and obesity rates continue to escalate in the U.S.
Larry B. Goldstein, M.D., chair of the AHA Writing Group and medical professor and director of the Duke Stroke Center at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., said public policy plays a crucial role in improving public health as it addresses "where people live, eat, work and receive health care."
Goldstein said public policy also addresses government funding for research on preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, congestive heart failure and stroke.
The AHA's goals for 2011 include reducing cardiovascular-related death by 20 percent and improving America's collective cardiovascular health by the same amount.