Heart Health

Protecting America’s workforce, preventing cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is America’s number one killer. Annually, about 1 in every 6 healthcare dollars is spent on cardiovascular disease. Learn how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focuses on science that improves heart health while helping employers attract and retain workers, improve worker health and productivity and reduce healthcare costs.

Healthy Workforce

Business Challenges

Heart disease and stroke cost American employers hundreds of billions of dollars each year in medical expenses and lost productivity.

By 2030, annual direct medical costs associated with cardiovascular disease are projected to rise to more than $818 billion, while lost productivity costs are projected to rise to more than $275 billion.

In the United States

Each year more than 1.5 million Americans will suffer from a heart attack or stroke.

Every 43 seconds,
someone in the United
States has a heart attack.

On average, one American
dies from stroke every
four minutes.

Source: CDC, Palar K, Sturm R., American Journal of Health Promotion, 2009


is a result of cardiovascular disease. This amounts to nearly 800,000 annual deaths per year.

Source: CDC

In 2011, heart disease cost Americans more than


and cardiovascular disease cost Americans more than $320 billion—nearly $1 billion each day—in medical costs and lost productivity.

Heart disease kills about the same number of people each year as

Strokes cost the United States almost


in 2011, including $17.5 billion
in direct costs and $16 billion in lost productivity.

Source: American Heart Association

Today's workers face serious health challenges

Cardiovascular Disease

About half of U.S. adults have


for cardiovascular disease: uncontrolled high blood pressure, uncontrolled high “bad” (LDL) cholesterol or are current smokers.

Source: CDC


About 70 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure and half

Total costs associated with high blood pressure in 2011 were $46 billion, including $42.8 billion in direct medical expenses and $3.6 billion in lost productivity.

Source: Nwankwo et all, CDC National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2012


Reducing sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day could save $18 billion in healthcare costs and reduce cases of high blood pressure by 11 million annually.

The average American consumes 3,400 mg or more of sodium a day, or about 1.5 teaspoons of salt.

Source: Palar K, Sturm R., American Journal of Health Promotion, 2009


Diabetes, obesity and lack of physical activity contribute to heart disease.


in the United States are obese and
9 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes. In 2011, only about 1 in 5 U.S. adults met 2008 physical activity guidelines. In 2008 dollars, medical care costs of obesity totaled about $147 billion.

Source: CDC


CDC Business Benefits

CDC research and tools help both American businesses and employees promote heart health as part of a larger effort to encourage workplace health and safety. CDC’s leadership role in Million Hearts® aligns public and private initiatives across America to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Million Hearts®

CDC co-leads Million Hearts®, a national effort to


by aligning public and private initiatives—including employers—across the United States.

As part of the initiative, CDC offers:

Workplace Health Promotion

CDC’s toolkit for workplace health promotion offers helpful heart-health resources including:


Take Action

Access CDC workplace research and guidelines that can help employees take actions to improve their health in areas including blood pressure control, cholesterol management, tobacco cessation, good nutrition and physical activity.

Be One in a Million Hearts

Join with other U.S. employers to advance

Million Hearts Goals

at work and in the community.

The ABCS of Heart Health

Implement policies and guidelines that encourage employees
to focus on the ABCS of heart health:

Aspirin when appropriate
Blood pressure control
Cholesterol management
Smoking cessation

Cardiovascular Health Action Steps

Put cardiovascular health action steps in place, including:

One-on-one and group lifestyle counseling and follow-up monitoring

Health insurance coverage with no or low out-of-pocket costs for cholesterol and blood pressure control medications and monitoring

A written tobacco-free workplace policy

Healthier food and beverage options and incentives

Automated External Defibrillators (AED) installation and training

Worksite Health Scorecard

Assess and improve your worksite’s health promotion programs by using CDC’s Worksite Health ScoreCard

Offer organizational support for successful workplace health promotion programs through commitment at all management levels, an annual budget and an active health committee.

Provide options that encourage employees to consider physical activity, such as exercise facilities, walking trails, bicycle racks and physical activity programs.


For more information on CDC’s work
to protect Americans from heart
disease and stroke:

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