DALLAS, Dec. 8, 2016 — The new National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Data Report gives us insight into several areas integral to the AHA’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Americans saw a decrease in life expectancy for the first time since the 1990’s, without a major disease outbreak to point to as the cause. Rather, death rates for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death, including heart disease, the nation’s leading killer, and stroke, the No. 5 killer, showed statistically significant increases.

The notable increase in rates of death from Alzheimer’s Disease is also of concern to the AHA, since there is growing evidence that supports a link between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. 

The NCHS data supports the need for the AHA to continue and even strengthen its strong focus on prevention to reduce cardiovascular risk in the population and on the treatment of heart diseases and stroke in order to reach our 2020 Impact Goal of increasing cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20%, while reducing cardiovascular mortality by 20%, all by the year 2020.

The NCHS report also indicates the need to accelerate building strategic alliances across all sectors - healthcare, industry, education, communities - that focus on reducing and treating risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. This focus will not only reduce the risk for CVD, but other chronic diseases that share major risk factors, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

These latest data reinforce the need for continued research funding, public health efforts, and nationally scalable prevention initiatives to ensure more years of good health for every American at every age. Prevention is an essential element of our fight to improve the health of all Americans, and we must reach them where they live, work and play with lifesaving solutions. It will take all of us to make it happen.

We are committed to saving lives by improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans. We have made tremendous progress over our first nine decades and we will continue to do so.


Media Inquiries: 

Maggie Francis 214-706-1382; maggie.francis@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . .we help people live longer, healthier lives.