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House Passes Resolution Aimed at Preventing Heart Disease

On February 13, the House approved, 389-0, a resolution (H. Res. 972) designating February 2008 as “American Heart Month” and supporting the goals of “National Wear Red Day.”

Sponsored by Lois Capps (D-CA), the resolution contains a number of findings, including:

  • nearly 2,400 American men, women, and children die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 37 seconds;
  • many people do not recognize that heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases are the number one killers of American women, claiming the lives of almost 460,000 American women each year, or about one per minute;
  • cardiovascular diseases cost the nation more than any other cause of death, with direct and indirect costs estimated to reach $448.5 billion in the United States in 2008; and
  • many minority women, including African American, Hispanic, Native American, and some subgroups of Asian American women, have a greater prevalence of risk factors [for], or are at a higher risk of death from, heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, but they are less likely to know of this risk.

    Speaking in support of her resolution, Rep. Capps said, “The resolution recognizes both Heart Month and National Wear Red Day, both of which occur in February. Heart Month was first designated 45 years ago and has served as a launching pad to spur advocates into action around the country…The importance of community events like Go Red for Women lunches cannot be overstated. Heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men. But now, in fact, more women than men die of heart disease each year. Unfortunately, there is still an existing knowledge gap both in terms of public awareness and professional awareness. Despite the fact that almost 460,000 American women die of heart disease every year, women are still grossly underrepresented in clinical trials, as one example. The numbers are even worse for minority women who are at an even greater risk for developing heart disease and who have many more barriers to accessing care. So today, as we pass this resolution to recognize the importance of Heart Month and Wear Red Day, let us use this opportunity to discuss the real changes we can make to improve women’s heart health.”

    Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) said, “I think it has already been mentioned that heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it certainly is a huge problem in the state of Oklahoma…And contrary to popular opinion, heart disease is every bit as dangerous for women as it is for men. In the last two decades, more women than men have died from it. In my home state alone, almost 20 women a day die from heart-related illnesses. Tomorrow, millions of men and women are participating in National Go Red Day. I know I have on black today, and I think all the other ladies have on black, but tomorrow we will be wearing our red. I encourage all of our colleagues here in Congress to wear their red, as well as those around the nation. As we wear red tomorrow, we will remind those around us of the importance of fighting this disease. And we can fight this disease by starting just to take some simple precautions: exercising, maintaining healthy eating styles, and refraining, of course, from habits that are harmful to our health, like smoking. Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues and all Americans to wear red tomorrow, and to remember the millions of people who suffer with heart disease and to think about what we can do to fight this terrible illness.”

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