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Closing The Gap In Heart Disease Care

 NATICK, MA -- Boston Scientific has announced that its Close the Gap campaign is partnering with the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic to raise awareness of heart disease risk factors for women and minorities. Close the Gap, an educational initiative designed to educate, equip and empower communities and individuals to reduce disparities in cardiovascular care for women, black Americans and Latino Americans, will staff an educational booth on the topic at Cowboys Stadium on September 6th.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and in Texas, accounting for 26 percent of all deaths in the country and nearly 25 percent of all deaths in the state. Heart disease claims nearly 40,000 lives each year in the state of Texas. According to recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey results, adults in Texas reported the following risk factors for heart disease: 29% have high blood pressure, 41% have high cholesterol, 18% are current smokers, 67% are overweight or obese, and 27% reported no exercise in the prior 30 days.

"We're proud to assist in the Close the Gap initiative to raise awareness of heart disease risk factors," said event founder and ESPN personality Kirk Herbstreit. "We support the effort, and urge everyone to learn more about how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from developing this condition."

The Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic is the nation's premiere high school football showcase held in Columbus, Ohio(September 5-6) at Ohio Stadium and in Arlington, Texas (September 6) at Cowboys Stadium.

According to the American Heart Association, every 38 seconds an American dies of heart disease. Heart disease causes more deaths in Americans of both genders and across all racial and ethnic groups than any other disease. To make the public more aware of these startling statistics and to encourage fans to take charge of their heart health, Close the Gap will distribute educational materials onsite at Cowboys Stadium during the National Kickoff Classic. Methodist Hospital will provide free health screenings for visitors to the Close the Gap informational booth.

"Understanding the risk factors and symptoms of cardiovascular disease is extremely important, particularly in women and minorities," said Close the Gap steering committee member Dr. Mark Jenkins, a Dallas based cardiologist.  "Close the Gaphelps individuals understand their risk factors, and encourages people to be proactive in controlling their heart health."

A key element of the Close the Gap campaign is to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest as a leading cause of death among young athletes. Statistics reveal that in the United States, a young competitive athlete experiences sudden cardiac arrest every three or four days. The average age of those who die is 17.5 years, 90 percent of them are male and more than half are black. This message is particularly important for high school-aged athletes, along with their coaches and families.

Close the Gap is led by a steering committee of leading physicians and health care providers from across the country. In addition to the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic, other organizations supporting efforts to address disparities in cardiovascular care and working actively with the Close the Gap initiative include: WomenHeart, Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA), the Association of Black Cardiologists, the Athlete's Heartbeat, Minor League Baseball, the Minnesota Lynx and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. Several National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) member schools are also supporting Close the Gap efforts.

"Despite a similar prevalence, women and people of color are treated at a lesser rate for heart disease than Caucasian men," said Close the Gap steering committee member Dr. Winston Gandy, an Atlanta area cardiologist. "With Close the Gap, we are helping everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, have access to the highest quality cardiovascular care."

Close the Gap has plans to conduct outreach at several venues during 2010, including information booths at several Minor League Baseball games, several NCAA football games, and additional high school athletic showcases. 

About Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. 

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