Congress asked to increase funding for cardiovascular disease

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With risk factors for heart disease and stroke steadily increasing, youth advocates, heart and stroke survivors, researchers and American Heart Association's (AHA) representatives from across the U.S. urged Congress Tuesday to invest more money in the field of cardiology.

The advocates met with their representatives for the AHA’s Congressional Lobby Day, You're the Cure on the Hill 2008, to boost funding for research and prevention programs to fight cardiovascular diseases, the number one killer in the U.S.

Daniel Jones, MD, AHA president, Timothy Gardner, MD, AHA president-elect, M. Cass Wheeler, AHA CEO, and Gary Ellis, AHA chairman of the board, also met with House and Senate leadership to seek more government support.

“If we hope to find a cure for cardiovascular diseases, our elected officials must support a strong and sustained investment in research and prevention," said Jones. “Recent studies point to a surge in obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure -- risk factors for heart disease and stroke. We must ramp up efforts to educate Americans and policymakers about the need to prevent disease before it strikes.”

More than 600 advocates called on their representatives to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health and the CDC’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program and cosponsor the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act, legislation to amend No Child Left Behind to make quality physical education a priority in schools.

Nearly 2,400 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 37 seconds, according to AHA statistics. Although the death rate for cardiovascular disease has moved downward, the AHA has reported that risk factors are on the upswing. For example, two-out-of-three U.S. adults are overweight; one-out-of-three is obese. The number of overweight children ages 6-11 has more than quadrupled in the past 30 years. More than 46 million adults smoke daily and about 4,000 people ages 12-17 begin smoking every day.