The Georgia Division of Public Health (DPH), Department of Human Resources (DHR) began receiving funds from CDC in 1998 to support a state heart disease and stroke prevention program. The program received increased funding for basic implementation beginning in 2002.
Burden of Heart Disease and Stroke
- More than 1 out of 4 deaths in Georgia are due to heart disease. (National Vital Statistics Report, 2009.)
- 16,478 Georgians died from heart disease in 2006 (24.3% of total deaths in Georgia). (National Vital Statistics Report, 2009.)
- 3,889 Georgians died from stroke in 2006 (5.7% of total deaths in Georgia). (National Vital Statistics Report, 2009.)
See the Georgia Department of Community Health Web page, Cardiovascular Health Surveillance, and the Tri-State Stroke Network report, The Impact of Stroke in the Southeast 2008, for more burden statistics.
- According to 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey results, adults in Georgia reported the following risk factors for heart disease and stroke:
- 30.4% had high blood pressure
- 37.4% of those screened reported having high blood cholesterol
- 10.1% had diabetes
- 19.4% were current smokers
- 65.0% were overweight or obese (Body Mass Index greater than or equal to 25.0)
- 51.8% reported no exercise in the prior 30 days
- 75.0% ate fruit and vegetables less than 5 times a day
|Risk Factor||Georgia||Nationwide (States and D.C.)|
|Eat fruits and vegetables less than 5 times/day||75.0||75.6|
|Overweight or obese||65.0||62.9|
|No moderate or vigorous physical activity||51.8||50.5|
|High total blood cholesterol||37.4||37.6|
|High blood pressure||30.4||27.8|
- Facilitate collaboration among public and private sector partners, such as managed care organizations, health insurers, federally funded health centers, businesses, priority population organizations, and emergency response agencies.
- Define the burden of heart disease and stroke and assess existing population-based strategies for primary and secondary prevention of heart disease and stroke within the state.
- Develop and update a comprehensive state plan for heart disease and stroke prevention with emphasis on heart-healthy policies development, physical and social environments change, and disparities elimination (e.g., based on geography, gender, race or ethnicity, or socioeconomic status).
- Identify culturally appropriate approaches to promote heart disease and stroke prevention among racial, ethnic, and other priority populations.
- Use population-based public health strategies to increase public awareness of the heart disease and stroke urgency, the signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke, and the need to call 9-1-1.
- Support health care organizations system changes to assure quality of care and implementation of primary and secondary prevention for heart disease and stroke.
- Monitor, implement, and evaluate prevention strategies and programs in health care sites, work sites, and communities.
- Provide training and technical assistance to public health, health care professionals, and partners to support primary and secondary prevention of heart disease and stroke.
- Monitor quality of care for primary and secondary prevention.
- Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law the Coverdell-Murphy Act of 2008, which aims to create a more effective system of care for stroke patients in Georgia. The Act creates a two-tiered hospital identification system to facilitate stroke-treatment readiness.
- The top tier of hospitals, known as primary stroke centers, would provide comprehensive care for stroke patients and would maintain accreditation from the Joint Commission.
- The second tier, remote treatment stroke centers, would provide cost-effective options for rural hospitals that lack the resources to become primary stroke centers. Remote treatment stroke centers enable patients to be treated by a board-certified neurologist using telemedicine.
The new Act prepares more Georgia hospitals to treat stroke victims within the first three hours of experiencing symptoms—the window when patients stand the best chance of recovery.
- The Stroke and Heart Attack Prevention Program (SHAPP), which serves more than 17,000 high-risk individuals diagnosed with hypertension, is the Georgia Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program’s major health care initiative focused on blood pressure control. The state office provides financial supports to SHAPP by providing training to nurses on protocols, which are based on the most current treatment guidelines for hypertension. These protocols ensure that SHAPP promotes evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, management, and treatment. Recent data show that 67.7% of individuals participating in SHAPP managed their hypertension, which exceeds the national rate.
- Coastal health district staff worked with 34 schools in two school systems to conduct work site wellness activities for faculty and staff. Activities included educational sessions on heart disease and stroke, seminars on blood pressure and cholesterol control, and heart disease and stroke awareness campaigns targeting African American females.
- Local health districts worked with seven work sites to adopt formal policies to improve employee health. Six work sites implemented environmental changes, including a walking path, healthy vending machine options, physical fitness breaks, quarterly fitness challenges, and CPR training for staff. Five work sites adopted policies that prohibit tobacco use, and two sites adopted healthy eating and physical activity policies.
- Local health districts continue to work on community- and faith-based initiatives to support policy and systems changes, such as the development of chronic disease education classes, heart-healthy cooking classes, community gardens, and policies to support walking trails and tobacco-free campuses.
For more information visit the Georgia heart disease and stroke prevention program.
To view county-level data, visit our interactive map site.