Heart Health Month

February 21, 2020

This February marks the 56th anniversary of American Heart Month!

The annual celebration began in 1963 when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the month of February American Heart Month, nine years after he suffered a heart attack. President Johnson urged the American population to recognize the nationwide problem of heart disease and to support the programs required to bring about its solution. People and health systems across the country celebrate American Heart Month by wearing red and raising awareness in their communities about heart disease.

In 1964, not long after the proclamation of the first American Heart Month, the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health was published by Surgeon General Luther Terry, MD. It was the first federal government report to link negative health impacts like lung cancer and heart disease to smoking. Since this first report, annual deaths from cardiovascular diseases have decreased, but heart disease still continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

Here are a few facts on heart disease in America:

- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States

- Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined
- Heart disease typically develops during adolescence, and childhood obesity leads to higher risk of heart disease later in life  

There is good news, however – heart disease is preventable in most cases simply by making healthy lifestyle choices. Some healthy choices include:

- Not smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight and sleep schedule
- Controlling blood sugar and cholesterol
- Aiming for 150 minutes of physical activity a week

American heart month gives us an important opportunity to recognize the threat heart diseases poses to the American population and the different practices and organizations put in place to prevent it.


For more information on American Heart month, visit the American College of Cardiology at https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2017/02/21/12/42/the-evolution-of-american-heart-month.