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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 2, 2007
Interview of the First Lady by ABC "Good Morning America"
The W Union Square
New York, New York
7:54 A.M. EST
Q We have a very, very special guest, as well. She is First Lady Laura Bush, the National Ambassador for the Heart Truth Campaign. They're on a mission to raise awareness of heart disease in women. The number one killer in America is heart disease, responsible for 650,000 deaths, half of them women. But Mrs. Bush is also here in New York with some encouraging news about heart disease and women -- had a chance to speak with her just moments ago.
Mrs. Bush, we all got the memo. We're all wearing red here at GMA. You, as well. Please tell everybody the significance of Wear Red Day.
MRS. BUSH: Well, today is National Wear Red Day for the Heart Truth Campaign, which is to get the word out to American women that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States.
I think all of us think of heart disease as a man's disease. But in fact, more women die of heart disease in the United States than men do. And there are a few reasons why. One is because women don't think heart disease would affect them. They don't get to the hospital as fast as men do if they start having any symptoms of a heart attack. So I want to urge American women to tell their mothers and their sisters and their daughters the heart truth, and to let women know to take care of themselves and to get straight to the hospital if they start to have any symptoms.
Q Yes, women -- we tend to think of others and put others before ourselves.
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q But as you said, Mrs. Bush, there is encouraging news; we're seeing the number of deaths because of heart death -- because of heart disease lowering.
MRS. BUSH: That's right. I think the really good news is women are finding out -- they are being educated about heart disease. They do know now that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. They are getting to the hospital faster if they start to have any symptoms. Women don't always have the same symptoms men do, the classic symptoms that we see in the movies. A lot of times, women have extreme fatigue. They might have a jaw pain or a neck pain or something that they wouldn't really associate with a heart attack. But if they start to have any of these symptoms, they should go straight to the hospital.
We've also educated doctors. A lot of doctors also thought that heart disease was a man's disease. And they would send women home and say, oh, you just have anxiety, or something like that. And now they are also taking heart disease very seriously in women. And so that's the good news, that deaths are decreasing from heart disease.
Q That is the good news that the deaths are decreasing. But we had Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen, two cardiac surgeons, on the program yesterday. And they said, while the death rate is going down, still the number of women who are suffering from heart disease, that unfortunately is not lowering, and that we need to do more.
MRS. BUSH: That's right -- more women are living with heart disease and they need support from other people.
Q What do you do? You look fantastic. What are you doing to keep in shape?
MRS. BUSH: Thanks. Well, I work out. I work out -- I walk -- both walk and lift weights a few times a week. Walking is the easiest exercise. It's what I encourage everyone to do. It's the very first step I think in starting to take care of yourself, and that's get up off the couch and go for a walk.
If you can walk outside, like people in New York have the chance to do, because it's so easy with so many sidewalks and so many close places to walk to, your grocery store or whatever -- but I think that's the first thing people can do. And then, of course, eat healthy foods. If you're overweight, try to lose weight. Obesity is one of the main risks of heart disease, which is why it's very important for mothers and fathers to try to pick really good foods for their children so we can do something about childhood obesity --
Q That is true.
MRS. BUSH: -- because we're looking at a whole generation that may face heart disease when they grow up.
Q And very quickly, Mrs. Bush, in the time remaining -- it is Heart Month. It is also the "month of love." And you are so good -- somebody in your office, Susan Whitson -- when we had the little Scottish terrier that is in love with Barney, and this was one of the YouTube videos. I know you've seen the video, as well. And Kenzie really wants to meet Barney. Is there any way we can make a love connection here?
MRS. BUSH: Sure, we would love to. Barney has actually been going through all of his mail. He's not found a valentine from Kenzie. (Laughter.) And I know Barney would love to have the chance to meet her. So we -- all we have also is just a website on the Internet. We don't -- there's no way for Barney to reach out. So if there's a way to get a good match with Barney and Kenzie that would be great.
Q Always a good sport, Mrs. Bush. I know Miss Beazley is off limits. Miss Beazley is off limits, but maybe --
MRS. BUSH: Miss Beazley is very, very jealous. She's very jealous. (Laughter.) No one has put anything on the Internet about her.
Q Oh, boy. Mrs. Bush, it's always a delight to spend time with you and to see you in for this very important cause. And have a great weekend. Thanks so much.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks. Thanks for wearing red today.