WHEREAS, stroke and heart disease combined take more lives than the next six causes of death combined in the United States; and

WHEREAS, stroke in women is the second leading cause of death in women worldwide, responsible annually for over 100,000 deaths nationally and accounting for 61% of all stroke deaths in the United States; and

WHEREAS, heart disease is the leading cause of death of women worldwide, responsible annually for nearly 3.4 million deaths, including 356,000 women in the United States alone; and

WHEREAS, stroke is the leading cause of disability in women worldwide, impairing and impacting stroke survivors on cognitive, emotional, and physical levels; and

WHEREAS, 8,000,000 American women are currently living with heart disease and 4,000,000 of them suffer from angina; and

WHEREAS, the burden of health care costs relating to stroke is estimated at $43 billion annually in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the cost of heart disease in the United States runs to $308 billion per year; and

WHEREAS, with an aging population, the United States will see a marked increase in stroke incidence, mortality, and disability among women in the coming years and the World Health Organization anticipates heart disease and stroke to be the top cause of death and disability in the year 2020 with fatalities over 20 million; and

WHEREAS, the United States Congress recognizes stroke and heart disease in women as urgent public health concerns in its Department of Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, declaring that increased research about women in stroke and heart disease is crucial to better understand gender differences, and that supporting initiatives towards advancing stroke and heart disease care are imperative; and

WHEREAS, only 33% of all women report that they are wellinformed about stroke and only 40% report being well-informed about heart disease; and

WHEREAS, African American and Hispanic-American women are at a proportionally higher risk for stroke than Caucasian women, yet respectively 20% and 33% lack knowledge of stroke warning signs; and

WHEREAS, the age-adjusted rate of heart disease for African American women is 72% higher than for Caucasian women, yet only 30% of African American women and 27% of Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is a leading killer of women, compared to 55% of Caucasian women; and

WHEREAS, minority populations are at a higher risk for stroke mortality than Caucasian women, with the stroke mortality rate for Hispanic women twice that of Caucasian women and 2.4 times greater for African American women; and

WHEREAS, the percentage of deaths within any group is unacceptably high (26.8% of African American deaths, 23.8% of Hispanic, and 29.2% of Caucasian); and

WHEREAS, 80% of all strokes are preventable with lifestyle adjustments and knowledge of signs and symptoms, public education is critical to decreasing stroke incidence among all Americans thus reducing the burden of cost; and

WHEREAS, nearly all heart disease is preventable, simply by making lifestyle changes like increasing exercise, ceasing to smoke, adopting a low-fat diet,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors recognizes stroke and heart disease in women as critical public health issues and strongly supports programs promoting comprehensive awareness targeted at women, advancing scientific research to further our understanding of stroke and heart disease in women, and improving medical services relating to stroke and heart disease.

2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352