As we continue to watch heart disease, stroke and other chronic illnesses drain the lifeblood from too many of our communities, we all must resolve and commit to an even greater and more integrated approach to combating risk factors and promoting good health through policy and environmental change. This is why the American Heart Association is excited by the release of the new, landmark report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranking the health of counties across the U.S. The County Health Rankings: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) report provides a wealth of data that allows us to gain greater insights into the health status of individual communities, enabling us to better target and tailor our resources to have the greatest impact on heart disease and stroke.

Last month the American Heart Association released a bold new goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020. We recognize that in order to achieve this goal, we must work alongside local leaders to improve the health of the entire community. With the MATCH county health ranking reports and the CDC's new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Action Communities for Health, Innovation and EnVironmental changE (ACHIEVE) initiative, we will be able to better pinpoint the barriers to ideal health and work together to implement policies and community change that will enable us to build healthier communities for future generations.

The association remains deeply committed to promoting public policy and change in our environments that will motivate children and adults to adopt healthy lifestyles. This includes increased physical activity in schools, revised school nutrition standards, implementing worksite wellness programs, instituting nonsmoking ordinances, increased access to healthy food options and improved access to preventive health services.

For more information visit americanheart/obesitypolicy

American Heart Association

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