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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Heart Health

Aired February 2, 2004 - 10:59   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go live to the White House. President Bush speaking. Let's listen in.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks for the kind introduction.

(LAUGHTER)

I don't know why you reminded them about the pretzel.

(LAUGHTER)

I am so pleased you all are here. I want to thank members of the United States Senate who came today, starting with Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Karyn. We're honored you are here. Thanks for coming. Thad Cochrane, Susan Collins and Byron Dorgan, you all are really kind to join us here. It's really important for the Congress to be involved with this initiative, as well as the White House.

I appreciate my friend, Elias Zerhouni. He's doing a fabulous job at the National Institute of Health. You really have taken on a tough assignment, and you've done it with such class. Thank you for your service.

I want to thank all the survivors of heart disease who are here. I asked the Vice President what he was up to.

(LAUGHTER)

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: What did he say?

G. BUSH: He said he was heading to the treadmill.

(LAUGHTER)

I want to thank everybody who is -- who shares in this important cause. I really appreciate Laura for helping to lead the Heart Truth, the campaign to educate women about heart disease. I'm really proud of you.

By spreading vital information, this campaign will save women's lives. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women -- and men -- so it's important that we send this heart truth message to all our citizens, to all Americans.

It's also important to for people to know that the risk of heart disease can be greatly reduced with good diet and regular exercise. Whatever our age or physical condition, or however busy we may be, we can all do something to stay healthy. And that's important.

The miracles of modern medicine we now enjoy make us forget some wisdom from the past, such as, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It made sense then, and it makes sense today, particularly when you're dealing with heart disease. And so we started what's called the Healthier U.S. Initiative, which is encouraging Americans to focus on four simple goals: Exercise daily, eat right, avoid tobacco, drugs and excessive alcohol, and get preventive screenings to detect problems early.

By focusing on these common-sense steps, we can save many lives we lose each year to preventable conditions like heart disease. In other words, just do some wise things with your life. It's just not all that complicated. But it's up to you to make the right choice. It's up to our fellow citizens to make the right decision necessary to protect their bodies.

I want to thank all of you all for working so hard to help citizens make the right choice, to send a clear message, to help people understand the need for healthier lives in America.

And now it's my honor to welcome the heart disease survivors to join Laura and me as I sign the proclamation of American Heart Month 2004.

(APPLAUSE)

KAGAN: And we're listening as President Bush helps kick off Heart Education Month. You can see the women behind him. They are heart disease survivors. Heart disease the No. 1 killer of women in America.

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