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Racial Gap Persists in Women's Heart Health Knowledge: Survey
Date:2/19/2013

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A new survey suggests that while public health campaigns have prompted a growing number of American women to recognize that heart disease is the biggest risk to their well-being, a racial gap in awareness remains as wide as ever.

Overall, 56 percent of women now say they are aware that heart disease is their number one killer, up from just 30 percent back in 1997, according to the authors of the American Heart Association (AHA) report.

A steep climb in overall awareness was also observed among both black women and Hispanic women during the 15-year period. But the respective rise from 15 percent and 20 percent awareness in 1997 to 36 percent and 34 percent awareness in 2012, means that a notable gap in awareness has remained doggedly persistent.

"The results show we may be winning the war in the past 15 years to raise awareness of heart disease in women, but we are still fighting an important battle to close the minority gap," said study author Dr. Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

Mosca and her colleagues report their observations in the Feb. 19 online edition of Circulation.

The survey was conducted by telephone and online from August to October in 2012. More than 2,400 women over the age of 25 participated.

Among the findings: While 35 percent of women said they (erroneously) believed that cancer was their number one killer in 1997, that dropped to 24 percent by 2012. Today, 56 percent of women accurately cite heart disease as their primary health threat, up from 30 percent in 1997.

On the downside, information strides made among black and Hispanic women had only lifted both groups to awareness levels already seen among white women back in 1997. The result: a racial spread in heart disease awareness that remains the same as it was 15 years ago.


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