Final Spending Bill Shortchanges Kids’ Health, Heart and Stroke Research, Says American Heart Association

December 14, 2014 Categories: Advocacy News

Washington, D.C., December 14, 2014 – American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the “cromnibus” bill – the $1.1 trillion federal spending legislation approved by Congress: 

“While we avoided a government shutdown, the final spending bill approved by Congress could have a harmful impact on the heart health of all Americans.  It threatens the future health of our children by delaying sodium standards in school meals and shortchanges much-needed investment in life-saving research.

Tucked away in the 1,600 page legislation is language that delays sodium decreases in school foods until scientific research supports it.  Perhaps we need to remind Congress about the 2010 Institute of Medicine report that clearly laid out overwhelming evidence in support of this nutrition standard and others required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

It’s important to note that the average school lunch provides nearly enough sodium for the entire day. Without this reduction, more of our children will develop high blood pressure that could lead to heart disease and stroke before they reach adulthood.

Once again this year Congress has provided very little relief for the funding-starved National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The meager half percent increase to the NIH’s budget clearly does not keep pace with inflation and will slow the progress of heart and stroke research.

We are also very concerned that Congress did not single out the nation’s No. 1 and most costly killer, cardiovascular disease, for an increase. In the United States, 83 million adults suffer from cardiovascular disease and more than 2,000 Americans die from it daily.  By 2030, nearly 44 percent of the U.S. population will face some form of cardiovascular disease which will cause total direct and indirect costs to increase from $579 billion to $1.208 trillion.  Despite these disturbing projections, the NIH is only able to allocate a mere 6 percent to cardiovascular research.  It’s unconscionable that the most common form of death in America is not the No. 1 research priority for our country.  

In 2015, the association will continue to remind the new Congress that its support is absolutely essential to our fight to help all American build healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke.”

###

 

For media inquiries, please contact Retha Sherrod at (202) 785-7929 or retha.sherrod@heart.org.