HEART DISEASE AWARENESS
SPEECH OF HON. STEVEN R. ROTHMAN OF NEW JERSEY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2004
Mr. ROTHMAN. Mr. Speaker, heart disease is the leading cause of death for all Americans. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 500,000 women die of cardiovascular disease each year. For women, heart disease is responsible for more deaths than the next seven causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. And shockingly, only 8 percent of women think that heart disease is a major personal concern.
These statistics are a sign that the message is not getting out. I rise today, in the middle of American Heart Month, to call attention to heart health and to encourage women to learn about the signs and causes of cardiovascular disease.
This past Friday, February 6, 2004, the American Heart Association sponsored "Go Red for Women" day. This initiative, encouraging individuals to wear red to increase awareness of heart disease, is an important step in making sure women take back control of their personal health. Both men and women must educate themselves on the warning signs of heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest. Women in particular must know the risk factors that they can control, including diabetes, high blood pressure, tobacco use, cholesterol, physical inactivity, and obesity because one in ten
American women aged 45 to 64 and one in four American women aged 64 or older has some form of heart disease.
Not only can well informed women and mothers improve their own health, but as the family gatekeeper, mothers can also help put children on the path to a lifetime of good heart health. We know childhood obesity and diabetes are pandemic in our society, but there are things we can do to stop the growing trend of children exhibiting heart disease risk-factors at such an early age. We all must work to ensure that our families are eating healthy, well-balanced meals and we must make sure that our families are getting enough physical activity. These simple but important efforts will mean a great deal to the future health of our family members and our Nation.
Mr. Speaker, I know you will join me in encouraging all Americans to contact the American Heart Association either through their Website or over the phone to find out the information that can save their lives. I hope my colleagues in the House will join me in this fight against heart disease, our Nation's leading killer.