American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown spoke at a National Press Club Newsmaker event in Washington, D.C. on January 24, 2011 about a new AHA policy statement indicating cardiovascular disease (CVD) costs will triple in the U.S. by 2030. Brown revealed that the $545 billion increase is due in part to an aging population and the skyrocketing financial burden makes it necessary to implement effective strategies to prevent these chronic illnesses. “Unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans,” said Brown. “Early intervention and evidence-based public policies are absolute musts to significantly reduce alarming rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use and cholesterol levels.”
During her keynote, Brown discussed Life’s Simple 7 (mylifecheck.heart.org), seven key health factors and behaviors that the association believes are essential for successful prevention including physical activity, proper diet, abstinence from smoking, weight management and control of blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. She also mentioned the effect these diseases and costs have on many Americans who have limited health insurance coverage. Brown shared a compelling story about Frank Amend, an underinsured heart survivor whose family was impacted by huge medical costs for his treatment.
Paul Heidenreich, MD and Justin Trogdon, PhD, two members of the report’s expert panel, commented on the methodology of the findings and remarked that despite the successes in reducing heart disease, we still face an enormous financial burden in medical costs. Members of the media including CNN, Reuters, National Journal, Congressional Quarterly and Politico were in attendance along with representatives from various health organizations.
View video highlights of the event and the full report!