By the President of the United States of America
Diseases of the heart and blood vessels afflict some thirty million Americans. Each year cardiovascular disorders claim nearly one million lives and cost our economy nearly forty-eight billion dollars in lost wages, lost productivity, and medical expenses.
Since 1948, a concerted national effort has been under way to reduce illness, disability, and death from heart and blood vessel diseases through nationwide programs of biomedical research in the cardiovascular field, training of research workers and clinicians, information and education programs for health professionals and for the general public, and community service activities concerned with prevention, detection, and control of cardiovascular disorders.
These efforts have been spearheaded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a federal agency, and the American Heart Association, a voluntary health organization supported through private contributions. Since 1948, their combined outlay in support of the national battle against cardiovascular diseases has totaled nearly three billion dollars.
During these thirty years, an immense amount of new knowledge about the cardiovascular system and its diseases has been amassed and much of it has found application in better methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. In addition, many Americans have modified their diets, established sensible and regular exercise programs, changed their smoking habits, or have otherwise altered their lifestyles 'to achieve better cardiovascular health. As a result, mortality rates have declined steadily since 1950 in nearly all major cardiovascular disease categories and the total number of deaths among Americans from these diseases is the lowest it has been since 1965.
But these encouraging results are no excuse for complacency. On the contrary, they show that it is only through sustained dedication and cooperation among public officials, community leaders, private institutions, and the American people that we have any chance of controlling this threat to the health of our Nation.
Recognizing the need for all Americans to join forces in the battle against cardiovascular disease, the Congress, by joint resolution approved December 30, 1963 (77 Stat. 843; 36 U.S.C. 169b) has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of February, 1978, as American Heart Month. I invite the Governors of the States, the appropriate officials of all other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and the American people to join with me in reaffirming our commitment to the search for new ways to prevent, detect and control cardiovascular disease in all its forms.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and second.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 12:17 p.m., January 20, 1978]