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CDC Foundation's 'Live to the Beat' campaign spotlights cardiovascular disease in Black women, issuing a call-to-action to help Black women prioritize self-care for their own heart health

Black women in the U.S. experience higher rates of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.


The Live to the Beat campaign's "Heart2Heart Challenge" calls out the negative effects of the "Strong Black Woman" trope and promotes self-care as a path for healing Black women's hearts.


By Black Headline News

ATLANTA, Ga.-- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. Black women are bearing the brunt of the toll cardiovascular disease (CVD) is having on women in the United States. CDC data show Black women are nearly 60 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, and they experience higher rates of cardiovascular disease, coronary disease and stroke deaths when compared to non-Hispanic White women. CDC Foundation's Live to the Beat  campaign is launching a "Heart2Heart Challenge" to encourage Black women to give themselves permission to prioritize self-care for their own heart health.


"Black women are the figurative heartbeats of Black families and communities, but many of their own hearts are in trouble. CDC data show they make up the majority (60%) of African American caregivers and have a greater risk of poor physical and mental health themselves," said Dr. Leandris Liburd, acting director, CDC's Office of Health Equity. "We know many negative CVD outcomes for Black women can be traced to external and systemic factors outside of their control. The good news is we also know most CVD can be prevented with appropriate medical care and lifestyle changes, including changes that can begin as small steps."


The Live to the Beat campaign launched the "Heart2Heart Challenge" this American Heart Month with one central message: self-care is health care. The Challenge includes three calls to action for Black women:

  1. Select your small step at LivetoTheBeat.org/Heart2Heart. The web page features a list of small steps Black women can take to prioritize their own heart health, asking them to make a commitment to start with one small step and recommending community support resources if they need help. Steps range from taking a daily self-care walk to scheduling a wellness visit with a local healthcare professional or health clinic.

  2. Share your small step with the "Heart2Heart" social media challenge: The Challenge invites Black women to share their commitment with others on social media using the #LiveToTheBeat hashtag. The action is designed to encourage peer-to-peer support, which has been associated with improvements in clinical and quality-of-life outcomes according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

  3. Join us for the "Heart2Heart Self-Care Party": This engaging self-care experience will take place in Atlanta on February 10, 2024 (with select portions available online via livestream). Influencers Toya Johnson-Rushing, Lauren Williams, ShantaQuilette Develle and more will join the free event, which will include: a self-care expo with health, wellness and community support resources; interactive self-care experiences, including physical activity, healthy eating and stress management activities; interactive "Heart Talks" with clinicians and other experts; and free health care screenings and consultations.

  4. "Black women have a long and fraught legacy of caring for others in the United States, often to the detriment of their own health. The stereotype of the 'strong black woman' is a cultural trope that has not helped as research shows it is associated with increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower availability of emotional support," said Kinetra Joseph, campaign director, CDC Foundation. "This 'Heart2Heart Challenge' is about reminding Black women they don't have to put their own health on the backburner. Even as we are promoting self-care for heart health, we want more Black women to know that doesn't mean taking all the steps at once or all on your own. You can practice self-care in small steps, ask family or friends for support and even connect with healthcare professionals or community support programs to get help where you need it."


Now entering its third year, the CDC Foundation's Live to the Beat campaign is CDC's first national cardiovascular disease prevention campaign developed for the Black community. Since its launch, the campaign has produced a suite of 65 culturally-relevant health promotion and education resources; generated more than 498,000 connections to health education content online; engaged more than 18,000 people through community wellness activities; and made more than 5,600 referrals to community health resources. 


About CDC Foundation 

The CDC Foundation helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) save and improve lives by unleashing the power of collaboration between CDC, philanthropies, corporations, organizations and individuals to protect the health, safety and security of America and the world. The CDC Foundation is the go-to nonprofit authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic partners and private-sector resources to support CDC's critical health protection mission. Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has raised over $2 billion and launched more than 1,300 programs impacting a variety of health threats from chronic disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer, to infectious diseases like rotavirus and HIV, to emergency responses, including COVID-19 and Ebola. The CDC Foundation managed hundreds of CDC-led programs in the United States and in more than 90 countries last year. Learn more at www.cdcfoundation.org.


About "Live to the Beat"

The Live to the Beat campaign is led by CDC Foundation as part of its Million Hearts® Alliance, a public-private coalition to help fuel the Million Hearts® Initiative toward its goal of preventing one million heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events by 2027. The campaign aims to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among Black adults ages 35–54 with a focus on primary prevention, including moving more, eating better, quitting smoking and addressing key risk factors like hypertension, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), Black Heart Association (BHA), Girl Trek and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) are community partners.


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