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City ranks among worst for women’s
Heart & Stroke Association
A study of 49 mid-sized U.S. cities ranked the Charleston area, which
included North Charleston, 37th in terms of women’s heart friendliness,
making it one of the least desirable places for women’s heart health.
The study that grouped cities by size also found that several South
Carolina cities earned the unfortunate distinction of being among the
top five worst places for women’s heart health, while cities in the
West ranked highest for women’s heart health, according to the American
Heart Association’s Go Red for Women study by Sperling’s Best Places.
To combat heart disease and improve lifestyles for women, MUSC’s Heart
& Vascular Center is the local sponsor for Go Red for Women. The
MUSC-led group campaigns for heart health in women and regularly
conducts outreach and education programs, such as the annual Women’s
Heart Symposium in April; heart health screenings and clinics that are
offered throughout the Tri-county area.
Because heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women nationwide, the AHA
study examined various heart health criteria of the 200 most populous
U.S. metro areas, including heart-related fatalities, lifestyle
offerings and choices, diet, etc.
The cities were divided into three categories according to population:
mega metros with 1.45 million-plus; mid-sized metros with 560 million
to 1.45 million; and all other metros with a population of 560,000 or
fewer people. Regardless of metro size, all rankings were based upon
the heart-friendly benefits each city had to offer and the personal
lifestyle choices of its residents.
Specifically, the study found that Minneapolis-St. Paul, Boston and
Phoenix reported the lowest female cardiac mortality rates in the
country; Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis reported the highest. San
Francisco, Denver and Los Angeles were the thinnest mega metros;
Cleveland, San Antonio and Columbus were among the most overweight.
Washington, D.C., surprisingly, reported the lowest stress ratings of
all the mega metros while Portland, Ore., reported the highest stress
levels in the category. Generally, California and Colorado cities
scored well in the heart friendly cities study; the metros that scored
the lowest in the study were found in the South and Midwest.
Mega metros top 10 best
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI;
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV; San Francisco-San
Jose-Oakland, Calif.; Denver-Aurora, Colo.; Boston-Cambridge-Quincy,
MA-NH; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wa.; Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton,
OR-WA ; San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.; Los Angeles-Long
Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.; and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Az.
Mega metros 10 worst
Indianapolis, Ind.; Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio; Las Vegas-Paradise,
Nev.; Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas-Fort
Worth-Arlington, Texas; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich.;
St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.; and Nashville-Davidson—Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Mid-sized top 10
Salt Lake City, Utah; Honolulu; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Rochester,
N.Y.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.; Hartford-West Hartford-East
Hartford, Conn.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Boise City-Nampa, Idaho.
10 least heart-friendly
Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.; Lakeland, Fla.; Tulsa, Okla.; Toledo, Ohio;
Baton Rouge, La.; Memphis, Tenn.; Oklahoma City, Okla.;
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio/Pa.; Greenville; and Greensboro-High
Remaining or smaller metro
areas top five heart-friendly cities
Boulder, Colo.; Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, Maine; San Luis
Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.; and Ann
Florence; Montgomery, Ala.; Anderson; Terre Haute, Ind.; and
Other South Carolina cities in the survey included mid-sized cities:
Columbia, which ranked number 33; and Greenville, 40. All smaller
market cities in South Carolina proved among the least heart-friendly,
notably Myrtle Beach-Conway, which ranked 118; Florence, 126; Anderson,
128; and Spartanburg, 130.
Marian Taylor, M.D., co-director of MUSC’s Women’s Heart Care program,
is not surprised by the poor showing for South Carolina cities.
“Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death among South
Carolina women,” Taylor said. “This is exactly why we have the Women’s
Heart Care program at MUSC. As the official GoRed sponsor in
Charleston, we work closely with the American Heart Association to
educate women about the risk factors for heart disease. Women need to
take action, talk to their doctors and know their numbers for blood
pressure, cholesterol, waist circumference, blood sugar and exercise.
“Prevention is the key to putting Charleston women at the top of the
next ‘heart-friendly city’ list—lifestyle modifications, including a
heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and maintaining a
healthy weight, can make all the difference,” she said.
The research analyzed 22 factors for each location including smoking,
obesity, cardiac mortality rate and regular exercise among women.
Heart friendly tips
Regardless of where your city falls on the list, heart disease in the
50 states outpaces all other killer diseases in women. Living in a
heart-friendly city does not automatically equate to heart healthy, and
the reverse also is true. Even for those living in South Carolina,
heart disease is largely preventable by lowering risks through
important lifestyle changes.
- Eat healthy. Learn the basics about a heart healthy diet
with Go Red tools and tips for balanced nutrition, delicious recipes
- Get physically active. Regular, moderate-to-vigorous
physical activity improves cardiovascular fitness and helps reduce risk
of heart disease and stroke. You can incorporate physical activity into
your daily routines with Choose to Move, a 12-week physical activity
and nutrition program that can be customized to fit every lifestyle.
Register at http://www.GoRedForWomen.org.
- Know your numbers. Tracking blood pressure, cholesterol,
glucose and weight numbers can help you to keep them in a healthy
range. To learn more about your 10-year personal risk for heart
disease, take the Go Red for Women Heart Check-Up at
- Build community. Join the Go Red for Women online community
to share heart health stories and connect with women who share a
passion for women’s heart health nationwide.
The study found that the Charleston area was considered “fair” in terms
of heart-friendliness. The categories included physicians per capita;
regular exercise; routine check ups; fast food outlets per capita;
health care affordability; cardiologists per capita; teaching
hospitals per capita; and commute by bike or walking
- Make a difference. Support the HEART For Women Act and
other policies to help make the nation’s cities heart healthier for
all. Visit http://www.GoRedForWomen.org
to access tools to help you communicate directly with members of
Areas that need improvement are cardiac mortality; prescriptions for
control of hypertension and cholesterol; diagnoses of diabetes, high
cholesterol, and hypertension; obesity/ body mass index;
cigarette smoking; ability to afford health care; available hospital
beds per capita; healthy eating; alcohol consumption; stress index; and
Friday, May 23, 2008
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