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Proclamation 6648—American Heart Month, 1994

February 03, 1994

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The heart is one of nature's most efficient and durable machines. During an average lifetime, the heart contracts an amazing 2.5 billion times. Although we now realize that it functions as a life-giving pump, the human heart was thought of by ancient man as the very soul of one's being. Certain words, such as "courage" and "cordial," are derived from the Latin word for heart, symbolizing its prominence and significance.

Heart disease was not recognized until about 1500 A.D., for the heart was considered so delicate and sensitive that death was believed to be inevitable if the heart were injured in any way. Although most causes of heart disease observed early in the 20th century are still present today, the treatment and cures of the disease are now dramatically altered.

Today, heart disease is one health threat that Americans can conquer. Extraordinary scientific advances, together with increased public awareness, have forged one of this century's greatest medical achievements, saving untold lives through improved prevention and treatment. However, as long as cardiovascular diseases and stroke threaten the lives of Americans, we must continue in our diligent efforts to fight these diseases.

Today, many Americans are joining in this fight by taking steps to reduce their chances of developing a cardiovascular disease. They have learned to avoid the major risk factors by controlling blood pressure and blood cholesterol, by avoiding tobacco products, and by becoming more physically active.

At the same time, scientists are developing better ways to detect and treat cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Revolutionary advances are reducing the physical suffering exacted by heart disease and are making diagnosis and treatment more successful.

The Federal Government has contributed to these achievements by supporting research and public education through its National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The American Heart Association, through its research and education programs and its vital network of dedicated volunteers, has played a crucial role in bringing about these remarkable accomplishments.

The results of the many scientific and public education achievements are dramatic. From 1972 through 1990, the death rate from heart disease dropped 39 percent and the death rate from strokes fell 57.4 percent.

However, these advances have not yet eradicated the devastating consequences of heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death in the United States today. American men and women still suffer about 1.25 million heart attacks each year. About 50 million Americans still have high blood pressure—and uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major cause of stroke. Virtually every American has grieved for a relative or friend debilitated or killed by a cardiovascular disease or stroke.

In recognition of the need for all of us to become involved in the ongoing fight against cardiovascular diseases, the Congress, by Joint Resolution approved December 30, 1963 (77 Stat. 843; 36 U.S.C. 169b), has requested that the President issue an annual proclamation designating February as "American Heart Month."

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of February 1994 as American Heart Month. I invite the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in reaffirming our commitment to combating cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of February, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.

Signature of William J. Clinton


William J. Clinton, Proclamation 6648—American Heart Month, 1994 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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