Heart disease is the number one killer in America. In February 1964, President Johnson proclaimed February to be American Heart Month. The Congress passed a resolution that would make every February be designated as Heart Month. This is a federally designated event that is designed to remind Americans to focus on their heart health, your family’s heart health, and your friend’s heart health.
Why is February Heart Disease Month?
In 1964, 50% of all deaths in America was related to heart disease. Although today we do not have those kinds of statistics, heart disease deaths still remain very high.
Here is a copy of President Johnson’s Proclamation in 1964:
Proclamation 3566—American Heart Month, 1964
December 30, 1963
Whereas diseases of the heart and the circulatory system are responsible for over one-half the deaths occurring annually; and
Whereas over one-half of the ten million Americans afflicted by the cardiovascular diseases are stricken during their most productive years, thereby causing a staggering physical and economic loss to the nation; and
Whereas expanded research has contributed unproved methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the cardiovascular diseases; and
Whereas substantial progress in combating those diseases is being made by comprehensive educational and community programs which have brought about swift and wide dissemination and use of such improved methods; and
Whereas these programs of research and education have resulted largely from the teamwork between the American Heart Association, its chapters and affiliates, and the Federal Government, particularly the Public Health Service through the National Heart Institute and the Heart Disease Control Program; and
Whereas the results thus far achieved in combating the cardiovascular diseases give hope that the continuation and expansion of these programs may eventually eliminate these diseases as important causes of death; and
Whereas it is essential to the health and well-being of our nation that our citizens be made aware of the medical, social, and economic aspects of the problem of cardiovascular diseases, and the measures being taken to combat them; and
Whereas the Congress, by joint resolution approved December 30, 1963, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month:
Now, Therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America do hereby proclaim the month of February 1964 as American Heart Month; and I invite the governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to issue similar proclamations.
I urge the people of the United States to give heed to the nationwide problem of the heart and blood-vessel diseases and to support the programs required to bring about its solution.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this 30th day of December in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and eighty-eighth.