News Flash > Cardiovascular Health


Killing Ourselves?

Reported July 02, 2009

ROCKVILLE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- We are spending more money to fight disease and cure cancer than any other country in the world, but Americans are still managing to kill themselves. The number one cause of death for both men and women is preventable.


What do the latest stats reveal about you?


The U.S. spends $2 trillion on health care. For the first time in decades, the number of smokers is on the decline, and once death sentences, breast and prostate cancers are now among the most survivable forms of cancer.


"If you ask many different people if health in America is improving, you will get many different answers," Penelope Slade-Sawyer, P.T., M.S.W., Acting Executive Director for the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Md., told Ivanhoe.


Sixteen percent of our gross domestic product is spent on helping the sick, yet we live shorter lives than Japan, Switzerland, Canada and Britain.


Even our children are not immune. The U.S. ranks 29th in infant mortality, which is tied with Slovakia and Poland. Obesity in kids is up to 17 percent.



It turns out the number one killer of Americans young and old is not cancer. It's not a flu or infection.


"The number one cause of death in America is coronary heart disease," Slade-Sawyer explained to Ivanhoe.


The Healthy People Report, created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reveals two out of three people are obese. One out of four suffers high blood pressure. Both of these almost guarantee heart disease.


Coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke -- odds are you will die from one of these.


"They are the top three killers today, and they are the top three killers in the foreseeable future," Slade-Sawyer said.


Whether you believe it's the government's problem or your's, experts say diet and exercise could change your future. However, 96 percent of people can't recall the last time they had a salad. 40 percent of us get no exercise.


Stress is a major contributor to heart disease. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the French spend twice as much time enjoying meals each day as Americans. They also get more sleep and 20 days more paid vacation time.

Penelope Slade-Sawyer, P.T., M.S.W.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Rockville, MD
(240) 453-8280