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Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
Date:2/10/2010

nderstand changes since 1997.

In 2009, online respondents received additional survey questions about caregiving, preventive actions and barriers to healthy behaviors, to set a baseline for future data.

Of women surveyed by telephone, 54 percent understood that CVD is the leading cause of death among women, compared with 30 percent in 1997. Additional survey findings:

  • Since 1997, the gap between minority and white women's awareness of CVD as the leading cause of death has narrowed, with awareness roughly doubling among white and Hispanic women and tripling among black women.
  • Knowledge of heart attack warning signs in 2009 has not improved appreciably since 1997, with only 56 percent of women citing chest pain and neck, shoulder and arm pain; 29 percent, shortness of breath; 17 percent, chest tightness; 15 percent, nausea; and 7 percent, fatigue.
  • Only 53 percent of all women said they would call 9-1-1 if they thought they were having heart attack symptoms.
  • Most respondents listed non evidence-based therapies to prevent cardiovascular disease, including the use of multivitamins (69 percent), antioxidants (70 percent), and special vitamins (58 percent); 29 percent cited aromatherapy as a preventive strategy.
  • Of online respondents, the most commonly cited barrier to taking preventive action was family/caretaking responsibility, at 51 percent; confusing media reports was the next most common barrier at 42 percent.
  • Community actions that online respondents thought would be most helpful in encouraging healthier lifestyles included access to healthy foods (91 percent) and public recreation facilities (80 percent), and listing of nutritional information in restaurants (79 percent).

The study highlights the need to sustain awareness and educational campaigns for women that incorporate evidence-based prevention messages, Mosca said.

"It's particularly important that national campaigns cut through the mixed message
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Contact: Tagni McRae
tagni.mcrae@heart.org
214-706-1383
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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