Legislature(2011 - 2012)
01/31/2012 03:00 PM HSS
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|Presentation: Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HCR 20-AMERICAN HEART MONTH 3:07:03 PM CHAIR KELLER announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 20, Designating February 2012 as American Heart Month. 3:07:19 PM REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY WILSON, Alaska State Legislature, prime sponsor of HCR 20, paraphrased from her sponsor statement: HCR 20 raises awareness of the nation's leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease, by having the State of Alaska join the American Heart Association in celebrating February 2012 as American Heart Month. This unfortunate disease causes an average of one American death every 39 seconds or nearly 2,200 deaths each day. It is the costliest disease in the nation, with direct and indirect costs estimated to be $297,700,000 a year. Research shows that there are clear preventative and community based strategies that can increase survival rates from this disease. The American Heart Association's 2020 impact goal seeks to improve cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent through research, population-level and community-level interventions, and public health and policy measures. The passage of this resolution would join Alaska and the American Heart Association in raising awareness of this disease by celebrating February 2012 as "American Heart Month" and promoting education and awareness by encouraging citizens to learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke. 3:09:39 PM REPRESENTATIVE MILLER asked if HCR 20 was intended to only be designated for this year. 3:09:56 PM REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON, in response, said that, currently, it was just for this year, but that she would like to see it become permanent. REPRESENTATIVE MILLER expressed his agreement, and asked if HCR 20 included any planned programs for exercise, diet, and smoking. REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON replied that a representative from the American Heart Association would answer that question. 3:10:49 PM REPRESENTATIVE HERRON offered his belief that annual introduction of the resolution "keeps it on the forefront." 3:11:44 PM CHAIR KELLER opened public testimony. 3:12:03 PM JAMIE MORGAN, Senior Government Relations Director, American Heart Association (AHA), Western States Affiliate, expressed her appreciation to the House Health and Social Services Standing Committee for its support of HCR 20. In response to an earlier question by Representative Miller, she said that AHA had many educational programs in the community, as well as other available resources and materials posted on its website. She urged support for HCR 20. 3:13:07 PM BOB URATA, MD, Family Physician, American Heart Association Volunteer, stated that he supported HCR 20. He confirmed that heart disease and stroke were a major cause of death and disability. He pointed out that many of the deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented by avoiding key risk factors and treating those which were abnormal. He stated that "maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar, and not smoking are key risk factors that can lead to a longer life." He referenced the National Institute of Health (NIH), stating that 1.6 million lives had been saved since 1977 with an estimated 44 percent due to a reduction of risk factors. He reported that overweight and obesity was the new threat, as 27 percent of high school students were overweight or obese. "This will lead to an increase in high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease." He noted that although there was an increased awareness for the signs of heart attack, only 27 percent knew to call 911. He emphasized that "increasing awareness of risk factors and emergency care is a first step in reducing the risk of death and disability from this disease." He offered his support for passage of HCR 20. 3:15:37 PM REPRESENTATIVE HERRON reflected that the statistics were sobering. He pointed out that food manufacturers created complex formulas to make food taste better, though not necessarily healthier, and asked if AHA was attempting to combat this. 3:16:40 PM DR. URATA replied that AHA scientists maintained a nutrition vigil. 3:17:07 PM MS. MORGAN, acknowledging the issue, stated that AHA had not yet taken a position. She offered to update the committee as more information became available. 3:17:43 PM REPRESENTATIVE HERRON opined that although everyone liked food that tasted good, he questioned whether it was healthy for companies to create compounds to enhance flavor solely in order to get people to eat more of that food. 3:18:15 PM DR. URATA, reflecting on the elimination of salt from his diet in order to combat rising blood pressure, suggested that his taste buds had adjusted to this change and that, after time, salty foods began to taste bitter. 3:19:27 PM JIM FOSTER, Paramedic, stated that having a month dedicated to cardiovascular disease allowed the opportunity to bring awareness to the epidemic problem. He reported that although this was the number one cause of death in America, it was not a "media event" so it was not recognized. 3:20:49 PM CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony. 3:21:04 PM REPRESENTATIVE HERRON moved to report HCR 20 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal notes. There being no objection, HCR 20 was reported from the House Health and Social Services Standing Committee.