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American Heart Association President Urges Congress to Support Preventative Measures to Reduce Risk Factors for the Nation's No. 1 Killer
Date:1/10/2008

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Heart Association President Daniel W. Jones, M.D. today urged Congress to pass legislation to help Americans control their risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. With obesity, hypertension, diabetes and other risk factors on the rise, the association is calling on elected officials to support measures that focus on research and prevention.

"Risk factors, such as unhealthy weight, poor diet, smoking and diabetes could undercut many of the gains we've made to reduce cardiovascular disease deaths," said Jones, vice chancellor, University of Mississippi Medical Center. "We must ratchet up efforts to convince policymakers that a strong and sustained investment of government resources is essential."

The association's 2008 Health Policy Agenda addresses risk factors through legislation and initiatives that would combat the obesity epidemic, curb tobacco use, particularly among children, increase funding for medical research and prevention and reduce health disparities.

This year alone, cardiovascular diseases will cost Americans an estimated $449 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses. Treatment costs for cardiovascular diseases are expected to rise 64 to 84% by 2025. Stroke treatment alone is projected to exceed $2 trillion by 2050.

"Avoiding key risk factors and receiving early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can increase longevity and quality of life," said Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., American Heart Association spokesperson and Medical Director, Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute Chief, Cardiothoracic Transplantation, Baylor University Medical Center. "It's become increasingly clear that policymakers must help Americans preempt the disease before it can do any damage."

Among the association's 2008 public policy priorities: significantly increase federal funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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