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Moving into action : promoting heart-healthy and stroke-free communities : employers
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    Heart disease and stroke are deadly, disabling, and costly. They are the nation’s first and third leading causes of death, killing nearly 930,000 Americans each year. Heart disease is a leading cause of premature, permanent disability in the U.S. workforce, and stroke alone has disabled more than 1 million currently surviving Americans. The cost of heart disease and stroke in the United States is projected to be $394 billion in 2005, of which $242 billion is for health care expenditures and $152 billion for lost productivity from death and disability. The costs, the disability, and the deaths will only increase as the baby-boomer generation ages and its age-dependent risks for heart disease and stroke increase.

    Heart disease and stroke are largely preventable. Years of research have indicated that controlling high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol reduces a person’s risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack or stroke. Stopping smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and controlling diabetes can also help decrease a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke.

    Promoting heart-healthy and stroke-free communities involves efforts from all sectors of society. Health care systems, state and local governments, and workplaces have important and distinct roles to play in improving cardiovascular health. Health care organizations can implement systems to better monitor and manage cardiovascular conditions in accordance with national guidelines. Policy makers can establish coverage for preventive health services, no-smoking laws, and emergency response systems. Businesses can provide employees with screening and follow-up services for blood pressure and cholesterol control and offer opportunities for physical activity.

    Employers hold an important and valuable position for protecting the health of the people in their organization. This document provides a range of actions you can take to promote heart-healthy and stroke-free communities, which revolve around four central themes:

    • Demonstrate leadership.

    • Implement policies and incentives to make healthy choices the easy choices.

    • Promote coverage for and use of preventive health services.

    • Implement life-saving improvements in health services and medical response

    Suggested citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moving into Action: Promoting Heart-Healthy and Stroke-Free Communities (Employers). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2005.

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