Underwood Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address South Asian Heart Disease

June 10, 2021
Press Release
The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act aims to raise awareness and investigate the alarming rate of heart disease in the South Asian community

WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) helped introduce bipartisan legislation to address heart disease in South Asians. The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act, led by Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Joe Wilson (SC-02), aims to raise awareness and investigate the alarming rate of heart disease in South Asian communities. Underwood previously co-sponsored the legislation in the 116th Congress.  

 "We must take immediate action to better understand, prevent, and treat the alarming rate of heart disease in the South Asian community—it's an unacceptable health disparity that we must end," said Underwood. "Through critical investments in heart disease research and culturally appropriate education and awareness campaigns, we can promote heart health in the South Asian community. I'm pleased to support this bipartisan effort led by Representatives Jayapal and Wilson."  

 Studies have shown that South Asians in the United States are experiencing a dramatic rise in heart disease in their communities. South Asians have four times the risk of heart disease compared to the general population, a much greater chance of having a heart attack before age 50, and the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes—a leading cause of heart disease—of any ethnic group 

 The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act would: 

  • Create South Asian Heart Health Promotion Grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a clearinghouse and web portal of information on South Asian heart health, develop culturally appropriate materials to promote heart health in the South Asian community, and provide grants to work with community groups involved in South Asian heart health promotion;
  • Fund grants through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research on cardiovascular disease and other heart ailments among South Asian populations living in the United States; and
  • Include a Sense of Congress that U.S. medical schools should include, as part of their nutrition curriculum, a focus on cultural differences in diets and ways to achieve optimal nutrition in communities that experience substantial heart disease.

The bipartisan legislation has been supported by a strong coalition of organizations, including the American Heart Association, the Asian Pacific Islander American health forum, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, MASALA, and AAPCHO. 

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