January 11, 2008 - American Heart Association (AHA) President Daniel W. Jones, M.D. today urged Congress to pass legislation such as increased federal funding for research, passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and passage of the HEART for Woman Act, 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. 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.
"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."
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 percent by 2025. Stroke treatment alone is projected to exceed $2 trillion by 2050.
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 Prevention (CDC); passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, legislation that would authorize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the tobacco industry; passage of the HEART for Woman Act, legislation aimed at improving the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart disease in women; passage of the STOP Stroke Act, legislation to support the development and implementation of stroke systems of care; passage of the Genetic Information NonDiscrimination Act (GINA), legislation to protect Americans from the possible misuse of genetic test results; nutrition provisions in the Farm Bill including an agricultural subsidy for healthy seed oils and legislation that would require more accurate labeling of trans fat content in foods.
The association’s You’re the Cure grassroots network consists of nearly 200,000 volunteers - doctors, scientists, parents, heart and stroke survivors -- actively involved in the organization's public policy agenda and dedicated to finding cures for heart disease and stroke. On April 28 and 29, an estimated 600 AHA volunteers from across the country will gather on Capitol Hill for Congressional Heart and Stroke Lobby Day. The event will be a call to action of volunteers to raise awareness of cardiovascular diseases and urge members of Congress to support relevant legislation.
For more information: www.americanheart.org