Congressman Tom Suozzi (D – Long Island, Queens) has announced that he has co-sponsored the South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act (H.R. 3131).
The important piece of legislation would create South Asian Heart Health Promotion Grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to promote heart health in the South Asian community and support groups involved in this cause; fund grants through National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research on heart health in the South Asian community; fund grants through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to promote nutritional habits in the South Asian community that improve heart health; and urge medical schools to include in their curriculums, material on South Asian diets and ways improve heart health through nutrition.
“There are tens of thousands of South Asians in New York’s Third District, and we need to ensure that these communities receive the help they need to reduce the rate of heart disease,” said Suozzi, in a statement. “This bill would make meaningful progress by supporting organizations that promote heart health, educating people about how to improve their diets, and funding research into heart health disparities in the South Asian community.”
Heart health is an issue of particular concern in South Asian communities because South Asians have four times the risk of heart disease of the general population; South Asians have a much greater risk of heart attack before age 50; and South Asians are the ethnic group with the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes (the leading cause of heart disease).
On October 2, Congressman Suozzi met with Nikita Sharma, a Syosset High School sophomore who has been advocating for the passage of H.R. 3131.
“We need more South Asian heart health success stories instead of sad news,” said Sharma, in a statement. “With Congressman Suozzi’s co-sponsorship and support we can continue to spread the word in communities and in the government and hopefully get this important bill passed.”
H.R. 3131 is sponsored by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and is supported by a number of organizations including the American Heart Association, the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, WomenHeart, Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA), and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO).