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NJPHK Partner Spotlight: The American Heart Association

February 13, 2017 | Community News, Community News and Media, Partners

In celebration of American Heart Month in February, NJPHK is highlighting the American Heart Association (AHA).  AHA is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke–equal to 2,200 deaths per day. Founded in 1924, the AHA consists of millions of supporters and volunteers and advocates for stronger public health policies to improve lives nationally.

Two years ago, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Heart Association formed Voices for Healthy Kids, a collaborative effort created to promote policies that ensure children live in communities where they have an opportunity to grow up healthy. The American Heart Association has also worked with the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and the Food Trust to support the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative, a statewide program focused on increasing the availability and sales of healthy, affordable food in local stores and bodegas.

“Far too many New Jerseyans live in communities where they are unable to make healthy food choices because there are no well-stocked grocery or convenience stores in their neighborhoods,” said Corinne Orlando, director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association.

While AHA and the YMCA focus on leading a campaign to secure public funding to expand the NJ Healthy Corner Store Initiative, the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, and The Food Trust work directly with corner store owners to sell and market healthier foods.  The Food Trust provides store owners with education, tools, and incentives to offer healthier food options to residents.  “Initially, 80 corners stores were participating in the initiative,” stated Darrin Anderson, Deputy Director, NJPHK.  “The program now includes more than 200 New Jersey corner stores including the stores that Campbell’s Healthy Community Initiative has enrolled in Camden.”

Moving forward, along with providing healthy foods in corner stores, the AHA plans to continue advocating for increasing physical activity, improving the food environment and making the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone.

For more information on the American Heart Association and how to get involved, please visit www.heart.org.

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