President Trump declares February American Heart Month

President Donald Trump declared February American Heart Month this Thursday in a tradition that stretches back 54 years.

Since the first recognition of the dedicated month in 1964, presidents have been requested to annually designate February as American Heart Month, according to a statement from the White House. Congress approved the move more than five decades ago in an effort to emphasize the importance of heart health in the U.S.

Trump lauded researchers, scientists and clinicians for their role in developing medical procedures that are more precise, less invasive and enable faster recoveries with fewer complications. Still, he said in the statement, nearly half of all Americans between 45 and 65 years old suffer from some type of heart-related condition.

The White House underlined the importance of taking preventive measures against cardiovascular disease, as well as familiarizing yourself with family history. The most effective steps an individual can take to reduce their risk of coronary disease are eating healthily, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol and abstaining from tobacco.

“During our observance of American Heart Month, we remember those we have lost to heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases,” Trump said in the statement. “We honor healthcare providers and medical researchers who strive to advance both the treatment and prevention of this epidemic. And we encourage all Americans to commit to taking charge of their heart health, this month and every month.”

Trump said he and First Lady Melania Trump encourage all Americans to take part in National Wear Red Day on Friday, Feb. 2.