South Asian Heart Health: US Reps to Vote for Jayapal’s Bill Soon

The bill focuses on the alarming rate of heart disease among South Asians in the US, proposing combative strategies.

The house is set to vote on the Bill in September after the bipartisan legislation was passed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce last week.

A Bill to raise awareness about the alarming rate of heart disease in South Asian communities in the US, has been cleared for a vote before the full house of representatives later this month.

Drafted by Rep Pramila Jayapal, the Bill which was passed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce last week seeks to invest in programmes that can help reverse this deadly trend.

The bipartisan legislation, which was originally introduced in 2017 with Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, has 40 co-sponsors in the House, including American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, South Asian Public Health Association, Hindu American Foundation, Hindu American Physicians in Seva, South Asian Health Lifestyle Intervention, among others.


What Jayapal Said

In a press release, Jayapal points out data that suggests South Asians make up 25 percent of the world’s population but 50 percent of global cardiovascular deaths.

“As the first South Asian American woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, I am fully committed to not only raising awareness and educating the South Asian community about the risk factors for heart disease but also ensuring that those living with heart disease receive the care, treatment, resources and support they need,” Jayapal said, adding that “I am proud that this urgently necessary legislation passed committee today (9 September) and I won’t stop fighting until it becomes law.”

Studies, like MASALA or Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America, have demonstrated that South Asians in the United States – people who immigrated from or whose families immigrated from countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal – are experiencing a dramatic rise in heart disease.

Additionally, South Asian Americans are four times more at risk of developing heart disease than the general population, with a greater chance of having a heart attack before age 50 and have emerged as the ethnic group with the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of heart disease.


What Does the Bill Seek to Do?

If passed, Rep Jayapal's legislation would do the following for the South Asian population:

  • Direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to create grants, such as South Asian Heart Health Promotion Grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide funding for community groups involved in South Asian heart health promotion and to develop culturally appropriate materials to promote heart health in the South Asian community.
  • Direct grant funds in order to conduct research on cardiovascular disease and other heart ailments among communities disproportionately affected by heart disease, such as South Asian populations living in the United States, and develop a clearinghouse and web portal of information on heart health research, such as South Asian heart health.

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