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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: June 13, 2013


The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), Christiana Care Health System and the Delaware Center for Health Promotion at Delaware State University today announced efforts to teach Delawareans to know their blood pressure number and their waist circumference to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The Million Hearts Delaware press conference was held at the Walgreens on Route 8 in Dover.

Heart disease and stroke are the first and fourth leading causes of death in Delaware, and excess weight, hypertension and smoking contribute to thousands of heart attacks and strokes each year. Many Delawareans at high risk for heart attack or stroke are unaware of their risk.

Million Hearts Delaware, launched in 2012, aligns the efforts of all Delaware hospitals, the American Heart Association, DPH, the Medical Society of Delaware, major employers and health care providers to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Million Hearts Delaware combats cardiovascular disease with specific aims: public awareness and clinical prevention.

"Heart disease is a deadly disease but it is also a preventable disease," said Ed Goldenberg, M.D., chief of preventive medicine for Christiana Care System and the founder of the Million Hearts Initiative in Delaware. "Through this statewide partnership, we are educating the public on how they can prevent heart disease and stroke. When we adopt a lifestyle of exercise, weight management, blood pressure control and cholesterol management, we will live longer and healthier lives."

Through its public awareness initiative, Million Hearts Delaware is working to educate the citizens of Delaware about knowing their blood pressure (normal is less than 120/80 ) and their waist size (for women, less than 35 inches and for men, less than 40 inches; Asians are respectively 35 inches for men and 30 or 31 inches for women). Persons with results outside of these ranges are considered at risk and should visit their healthcare provider to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Among Delaware adults, obesity prevalence has doubled in the past two decades, from 14.4% in 1990 to 28.7% in 2010. Currently, 64 percent of Delawarean adults are classified as overweight or obese. Obesity is a major risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer. It can be prevented by being physically active, eating a balanced diet and not over-eating.

The economic cost of obesity in Delaware is estimated to be $207 million annually. Data shows that for every dollar spent to prevent chronic disease, we save $5.60 in health care costs.

Denise Taylor, MS, RD of Christiana Care is the Million Hearts Delaware project coordinator. To organize a Million Hearts event or for more information, contact Denise at

Visit for educational material and to connect with the movement on social media.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are the co-leaders of Million Hearts within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.