Announcement: Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week — February 7–14, 2017

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Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week is observed each year during February 7–14 to promote awareness and education about congenital heart defects (CHDs). CHDs affect approximately one in 100 births every year in the United States and are the most common type of birth defect (1,2). Heart defects are conditions that persons live with throughout their lives; an estimated 1 million children and 1.4 million adults in the United States were living with a CHD in 2010 (3). CDC’s website, Stories: Living with Heart Defects, includes personal stories by persons affected by CHDs (

CDC works to understand CHDs through initiatives that include working with state programs to improve newborn screening for critical CHDs, funding state programs to track birth defects, including CHDs, and launching projects focused on tracking children, adolescents, and adults with CHDs to make improvements in medical treatments and quality of life. CDC also provides funding for several research centers across the nation to help understand the causes of birth defects, including CHDs.

CDC-funded research recently reported associations for certain CHDs in infants of mothers who were exposed to pesticides at work (4) and a reduction in CHD risk for mothers with better diet quality (5). CDC research also found that children with CHDs receive special education more often than do children who do not have birth defects (6). CDC’s congenital heart defects website has additional information about CHDs (


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  2. Reller MD, Strickland MJ, Riehle-Colarusso T, Mahle WT, Correa A. Prevalence of congenital heart defects in metropolitan Atlanta, 1998-2005. J Pediatr 2008;153:807–13. CrossRef PubMed
  3. Gilboa SM, Devine OJ, Kucik JE, et al. Congenital heart defects in the United States: estimating the magnitude of the affected population in 2010. Circulation 2016;134:101–9. CrossRef PubMed
  4. Rocheleau CM, Bertke SJ, Lawson CC, et al. ; National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal occupational pesticide exposure and risk of congenital heart defects in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2015;103:823–33. CrossRef PubMed
  5. Botto LD, Krikov S, Carmichael SL, Munger RG, Shaw GM, Feldkamp ML; National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Lower rate of selected congenital heart defects with better maternal diet quality: a population-based study. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2016;101:F43–9. CrossRef PubMed
  6. Riehle-Colarusso T, Autry A, Razzaghi H, et al. Congenital heart defects and receipt of special education services. Pediatrics 2015;136:496–504. CrossRef PubMed

Suggested citation for this article: Announcement. Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week — February 7–14, 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:119. DOI:

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