The American Heart Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the fight against heart disease and stroke (both among the nation's top killers), as well as other cardiovascular illnesses. In addition to conducting research, the association serves as a clearinghouse for information on heart-related diseases and conditions. It also acts as an advocate on public policy issues related to its mission. The organization boasts a National Center in Dallas, as well as affiliate offices located throughout the US and in Puerto Rico. The AHA was founded in 1924 by six cardiologists who recognized the need to widely share their heart disease education and research.
The AHA's top fundraiser is the Heart Walk, whereby participants raise money to help the organization fund research, education, and advocacy efforts. Each year, more than 1 million walkers participate in about 350 walks in towns and cities across the US. The AHA receives most of its funding from individuals. Corporate donations are accepted under strict policies to prevent any undue influence into the organization's research initiatives.
In recent years, the AMA has been particularly concerned with the incidence of obesity among youth. It moved to tackle childhood obesity and developed the Alliance for a Healthier Generation through a partnership with the William J. Clinton Foundation. It also launched the What Moves U campaign with the NFL Foundation. In its effort to end stroke, the association boosted its spending to reach African Americans with its Power To End Stroke campaign. (The American Stoke Association is a division of the AHA.)
The AHA's Go Red For Women educational campaign was launched in response to the growing incidence of heart disease in women. Thought to be generally a male affliction, heart disease has become the #1 killer of women in the US). Sponsors such as Macy's, Merck, Rite Aid, and Yankee Candle raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause.
The organization also partners with food manufacturers for its popular Heart-Check Food Certification Program. More than 900 products that display the Heart Check symbol have been certified as being low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. Companies such as Campbell Soup, ConAgra, General Mills, New World Pasta, Sara Lee, Smithfield, and Tyson Foods have had their food products certified for the program. – less