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Sanjay Gupta MD

First Lady Laura Bush Talks Heart Health and Mandatory Vaccines; Bono's Passion for Healthcare; Bill Clinton Talks About AIDS; Working Moms to Blame for Childhood Obesity?

Aired July 07, 2007 - 08:30   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...7/07 is a huge wedding day around the world. In fact,, anyone who's ever gotten married knows about the knot. And they say that they've seen three times as many weddings this July as any other, about 38,000 weddings on this day supposedly around the country. And those are the ones that they know of.
So we'll look over here as it looks like the bride's getting ready to come in. What's fascinating, the park is doing the reception for all these families. They can bring ten of their guests. And you hear people yelling. And they can ride the rides all day.

Look over here as the bride walks up. Taking her time. Ever see Bugs and Daffy standing in? And here go, I'm with her. So I think she's taken, Bugs. So here -- from this fabulous wedding at the tea cups, we're going to send it back to you, T.J. and Betty. Thank you very much. Send it back to you.

NGUYEN: That is pretty. And who knew? It's at a theme park of all places. All right, best of luck to that couple.

HOLMES: Well, you don't see that every day. And here's something else you don't see every day. It's not a polar bear. It's just a bear, but it's gone pretty much polar, if you will. Up a pole about 100 feet. The sight distracted drivers in Lancaster, California yesterday. Police had to shut down the highway for a couple hours while they tried to decide what in the world they were going to do here. Eventually, the bear came down on its own.

NGUYEN: Well, from bears in the air to bulls on the run. Check this out. The first day of the annual running of the bulls in -- ooh, did you see that? Pamplona, Spain. You really have to be a really crazy to do this. Amazingly, only two people were taken to the hospital.

HOLMES: Just two.

NGUYEN: But there may be many more to come. There are eight more days left in that festival.

HOLMES: Going to do that one of these days. And after that, probably we're going to have to watch HOUSECALL with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

NGUYEN: Yes, we'll need it. We have that coming up next, so stay tuned. SANJAY GUPTA, HOST: Thanks, guys. This is a very special edition of HOUSECALL. We have the opportunity today to question powerful people in politics and global healthcare. First Lady Laura Bush talks heart health, mandatory vaccinations, and what it takes to get her out of bed and exercising.

Then, rock royalty, Bono. Find out what personal experience sparked his passion for healthcare equality.

And then, former President Bill Clinton talks about how AIDS could create a new world order. (INAUDIBLE).

Finally, a controversial claim. Get this, working moms to blame for childhood obesity. We get the facts.

We start, though, with my exclusive interview with First Lady Laura Bush. She's getting the word out. Every minute in this country, a woman dies of heart disease. It's a shocking statistic. And it's one that she's working to change.

So we toured George Washington University Hospital, meeting with the woman who had suffered a heart attack just days before. Her message -- know your symptoms and get screened. Then the First Lady got personal about her health habits and her own risk factors. Plus, how she really feels about the controversial HPV vaccine for cervical cancer.


LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: You know, we have laws for vaccine. I mean, that's not something new. We -- when I was younger, everyone had to get a smallpox vaccine before you could start school. And even today, in most school districts, there are certain vaccines that every child has to get before they start there, start to school.

So there's nothing new about requiring a vaccine that will protect the health of people in our country. And I think it's important for young women to have this, or girls, actually, to go ahead and have this vaccine. It will protect them from cervical cancer later in their lives. It's just like getting the flu shot. I mean, you get those vaccines so you won't have a problem later in your life with a disease. And in this case, it's cervical cancer.

GUPTA: If someone doesn't want one, should they be mandated to get it?

BUSH: Well, I mean, I think that's up to the states to figure out how to do that, but we certainly mandate vaccines. I mean, we do it in the United States. And because of that, we don't have many of the diseases that still are prevalent in other parts of the world. There's certainly nothing wrong with mandating vaccines, I think. It's a very important part of public health.

GUPTA: Heart disease kills maybe 10 times more women in this country than breast cancer. Yet a lot of patients and certainly a lot of physicians as well don't know that. BUSH: Didn't know it. And I didn't know it. When I learned that heart disease was the number one killer among women, I knew that if I didn't know that -- I was surprised by that. I thought that cancer was. And I knew that if I didn't know it, that many other women probably did not know it.

Some of the symptoms that women have especially aren't really the crushing chest pain that we imagine comes with a heart attack. People just, especially women, will say, oh, I'm going to go lie down. And I'm sure I'll feel better in a little bit, instead of doing what you should do, which is get straight to an emergency room.

GUPTA: And as we talk a lot about health and fitness, one of the things people say is, well, I don't have time for it. How do you make time for it?

BUSH: Well, I try to schedule it. I have a trainer, which is a huge luxury. And my sister-in-law works out with me. She comes in from Alexandria, where she lives. And of course, because I know she's coming, I'll get up and work out. And I'm not near as disciplined as the president is about working out, but I do feel a lot better if I work out. And I love to go for walks. And I want to encourage people to go for walks. It's a really easy and inexpensive way to get exercise. And plus, I think it just makes you feel better, not only physically, but I think it makes you feel better mentally, to get outside and go for walks.


GUPTA: Now Mrs. Bush also told me how disturbed she was by a new study showing that women are actually getting fewer mammograms. Get this -- researchers at the National Cancer Institute say 66 percent of women 40 and older got a mammogram in 2005. That's down from 70 percent in the year 2000. The study, authors say, that perhaps long waits for appointments could be one reason why. Even so, the First Lady checked her own sources.


BUSH: And I was talking to Dr. Jones today from the NIH. And she was wondering if we had been so successful in getting the word out about heart disease, that women no longer think breast cancer is a problem, but it still is. It's a very large problem.

And most women know someone personally who's had breast cancer. Both my grandmother and my mother had breast cancer. They both survived their breast cancer.

But on the other hand, I know that it's in my family, and that it's something I should always be screened for. So I want to encourage women, be screened for high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol and all the things that -- diabetes -- that have to do with heart disease, but don't forget your other screenings, and the mammogram, and the colonoscopy.

(END VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA: Now the First Lady also talked candidly about a dirty habit, quite frankly, that she's had a hard time quitting.


GUPTA: Were you a smoker at one time?

BUSH: That's right. I used to smoke.

GUPTA: Do you smoke anymore?

BUSH: No, I don't smoke anymore.

GUPTA: How did you quit?

BUSH: Well, it was very hard to quit. And smoking is very difficult to quit. And I want to encourage people to not pick it up. It's very difficult to quit. And one of the good ways, I think one of the easier ways to quit is the way the president did when he smoked, which was when he was back in graduate school. And that was he took up running. And I think once you get up and exercise, smoking becomes counter-productive. And then it's easier to quit.


GUPTA: Now later in the show, the First Lady had some advice for me about raising daughters. We both have two daughters.

But first, eating healthy is one way to prevent heart disease. And yet, some of those fresh fruits and vegetables have been making people sick. Last year, contaminated spinach sickened more than 200 people, killed at least 3. Remarkably, it was the 20th outbreak of E. Coli in salad greens since 1995. I spoke with a mom whose two-year- old daughter became deathly ill. She's still afraid.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't trust it. I don't trust it. If these outbreaks have been happening with fresh produce for over 10 years, what is safe? What can we eat?


GUPTA: That's exactly the question that I put to the FDA's food safety chief.


ROBERT BRACKETT: I think the food is very safe in this country, by and large. And in fact, according to CDC statistics, it appears to be getting even safer over the last few years.


GUPTA: Getting safer? Well, we spoke with experts who disagree. I'm going straight to the source, from touring spinach fields to calling on government leaders on this weekend's primetime special. It's called "Danger: Poisoned Food". It's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Saturday and Sunday. Find out if you're living with a false sense of security about your food.

But first, stay where you are.


BONO: I want to have fun and I want to change the world.


GUPTA: Rock star and activist Bono. He gives us a report card on aid to Africa. Plus, he tells us what turned his world upside down.

Then, former President Bill Clinton talks money, AIDS, and why Americans seem to be paying more for prescription drugs.

And later, the First Lady's advice to me about raising daughters.


GUPTA: The song is called "One," and it speaks of people working together to support one another. Of course, that's a message close to the heart of international rock star Bono. Now Bono's more than just a rocker. He's also an advocate, leading a watchdog group called Data. Its aim -- ensuring wealthy nations and G-8 specifically keep their promises to the poor. I caught up with him earlier this week and asked him, how are those nations doing?


BONO: There's good news and bad news, Sanjay. The good news is aid is really working on the ground. There's huge breakthrough being made fighting the AIDS emergency and malaria. Breakthroughs led by the United states, I might add.

But the bad news is, as a general compact with the poorest of the poor, the G-8 is way off. And this is very upsetting because it's one thing to make a promise to people like me or data or your own citizenry. It's really, there's something extraordinarily bad about breaking a promise with the poorest, most vulnerable people on earth. And as I say, they're off about half. Like looking at the pipeline, they may even be off by two-thirds in their pledge to get to 2010 and a doubling of aid.

GUPTA: How do you get people to really care about this fundamentally in their hearts?

BONO: We've got to put names and faces to these statistics. I mean, the data report, here it is. You know, it's hard science. It's, you know, cold facts.

But there's a hot argument going on about the lives that are being lost here. These are real people, like sisters, brothers, mothers. This is a mother who can't afford the 20 cents drug Navarapin that would stop spreading HIV/AIDS to her daughter. This is the daughter who will be involved in transactional sex, because she has no alternative. She can't get into school. This is the man begging for his life for two pills a day or to save him from AIDS. Or a family, you know, who are looking for bed nets. I mean, it's an extraordinary thing that in the 21st century, malaria, death by mosquito bite, is one of the biggest killers on the planet. And it's mostly children. 3,000 African children will die today of a mosquito bite.

And I think when we get that message out, I think people start to realize, this is madness! And this isn't, you know, passing around the plate at church on Sunday or digging into your pocket on the campus on Monday. This is worth us getting out on the streets, joining the one campaign to make poverty history, buying red products.

This is a social movement that is not just for the dignity of African people, but for our own dignity, to show that at this time and this place in civilization, we believe in the idea of equality. And it's an annoying idea, it's a difficult idea, it asks a lot of us, but if we really believe that a child's life is as valuable in Africa as it is in our own home, we have to act. And that's just it.

GUPTA: You know, it would be easy -- how do I say this -- for a rock star to just sort of sit back and enjoy life. I mean, you're a rock star. You get to travel all over the world in private jets, and parties, and all sorts of -- how did you become interested in this? Was there a sort of...

BONO: I do.

GUPTA: Was there a moment, a light bulb that went off at some point?

BONO: I want you to know I still live very much like a rock star. I'm having more fun than is legally allowed. I want to have fun and I want to change the world. That's the rock star's megalomania, isn't it, really?

But the thing that kicked it off for me, I think, was just realizing how fragile human life is, and then how privileged a place to be put in that you can change a life. I mean, even one life, you know? Even just coming to the aid of one life.

And I worked in Africa in the mid '80s after the famine in Ethiopia. With my wife, Ali and I, we ran an orphanage there for a while. And that turned my world view upside down, I will admit.


GUPTA: There's so much more to see of my interview with Bono than we could possibly fit in this morning. So for the rest, check out my free podcast online at i-tunes or at Plus, you can read my blog on the interview at I'd like to hear what you think as well. Health and the wealth of nations. President Bill Clinton talks about how AIDS could create a new world order, or perhaps there a lack thereof.

And later in the show, obese children, is it one more thing for working mothers to feel guilty about? We're talking about blaming women for childhood obesity. Not everyone's in on that. Stay tuned.


GUPTA: And we are back with HOUSECALL. Some good news in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Former President Bill Clinton helped broker a deal with drug companies to slash the price of some AIDS drugs. The deal could mean a 50 percent reduction in drug costs for developing countries. So I sat down with him and I asked why Americans need to care about AIDS in these countries.


BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have people in the United States from everywhere else. And they're all going back and forth all the time. And so, if the AIDS epidemic rages unchecked in various countries, some of it will find its way back to our borders, first of all.

Second, and far more important, it will lead to broken economies, failed states, and more conflict in other parts of the world, conflicts which we will be called upon to help with, directly or indirectly through the United Nations. It will cost the American taxpayers in the end far more money to deal with the consequences of broken societies from AIDS and other infectious diseases than to get in and pay our fair share of turning the health situation around.

GUPTA: What about the people right here in the United States in our own home? Should we be negotiating lower drug prices for them, as well?

CLINTON: Well, we should worry about it if the states, for example, can't pay. South Carolina ran out of money not very long ago for about 300 people. It was really - bothered me because they weren't getting enough federal support.

I think the federal government, after these drugs had been under patent for a certain amount of time, might ask for a break. You know, we still pay $10,000 a person a year for this medicine. And then the Canadians and Europeans pay $3500 for exactly the same medicine.

So after we know the companies have fully recovered their R&D costs and established a good profit profile, then almost no matter what they sell this medicine for now, it's going to be profitable, just maybe slightly less, though.

GUPTA: Why doesn't healthcare make more of an important impact? Such an important thing?

CLINTON: I think it will be this year. I think it is an important issue when the people who actually have insurance fear they're going to lose it, or know that it's not worth much.

But we're great if you get a heart problem like I have, but we are not good at keeping ourselves healthy in the first place. And you cannot run a system where you just almost encourage people to do things that are bad for their health, and then spend a fortune trying to fix them. When for a tiny fraction of that, you could have kept them well in the first place.


GUPTA: We'll be keeping an eye on the healthcare debate throughout the election. Of course, stay tuned to CNN for all your political news as campaign 2008 continues to ramp up.

Now, just ahead, we've got a story that may have a lot of working moms sending me some nasty messages. Could working mothers be making our children fatter? It's a controversial idea. We got both sides, just ahead.


GUPTA: Welcome back to HOUSECALL. You know, we've talked a lot about childhood obesity. More kids are battling the bulge these days. We know that. Now some experts are saying working mothers may be to blame. We took a closer look at this controversial theory.


GUPTA, HOST (voice-over): "Working Nine to Five" was a movie and a mantra in the 1980s, as American women entered the work force en masse.

That's about the same time American kids started packing on the pounds.

TERRY MASON, CHICAGO PUBLIC HEALTH COMM.: We saw that started to happen. You could track childhood obesity. There was a direct correlation.

GUPTA: So did working women lead to chubbier children? 16 percent of children 6 and older are overweight. That's triple the number from 1980.

LEW FULLER, OBESITY SOCIETY: We don't have the traditional approach of a woman being at home, cooking dinner, taking care of the kids, getting the kids outside, getting the kids exercise.

GUPTA: Families now eat out an average of four times a week, a big jump from 30 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being a working mom, I do find myself taking my children out to McDonald's and fast food a lot, because when I get back after the commute, I'm too tired to fix those meals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that blaming women for childhood obesity is absolutely ridiculous. GUPTA: Others say obesity may be caused by a variety of factors.

KATHRYN THOMAS, ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FDN.: At its very simplest, our kids are taking in a lot more calories than they're burning off. But there are a lot of reasons for that. It's not just because they're not eating as many dinners at home.

GUPTA: Regardless of cause, there are steps to help kids stay leaner.

THOMAS: We need to get physical education back into schools. We need to get the junk food out of schools. We need to make communities safer for kids to walk and bike and play. It's harder to do that than it is to say, mom and dad, you're not doing the right thing. I think mom and dad are doing the best they can.


GUPTA: I think mom and dad are doing OK, as well. Children eat almost twice as many calories, though, at restaurants than they do during a meal at home. So I want to give you some tips to help tip the scale towards you.

Number one, pre-cook and freeze meals on the weekends to heat up later. That might help. Number two, you've heard this before, limit TV, computer, and video games. And number three -- this actually works really well -- cut out the soda. That could really add a lot of calories. Hope that helps.

Coming up, though, the First Lady gives me some advice on the trickiest job that I have, raising daughters.


GUPTA: For more on women's heart health, click on, where you'll find concrete ways to lower your heart disease risk. Plus, a list of women's heart attack symptoms. They can be different than men's.

Now for the latest news on heart health, plus all your other up to the minute medical news, check out You can also find links to my blog, podcast, and all the latest video.

Now in talking about the heart truth campaign, the First Lady talked about just how important parenting is, as well. Being the father of two daughters, I thought I'd ask for some advice.


BUSH: Well, daughters are really special to raise. And I think especially for dads. They really love their daddys. I use this favorite quote of mine from James Baldwin that says, "Children aren't very good at listening to their elders, but they never fail to imitate them." So I think if we want our children to have healthy lifestyles, we need to show them how to do it so they can really imitate our lives. (END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Sage, Skye, are you listening to the First Lady? I hope you are. Thanks for the advice, Mrs. Bush. Certainly some good advice from all our guests today. And a common theme -- caring, whether it's for your own health or that of others.

Make sure to tune in next weekend as well. We'll be telling the incredible medical stories of men and women who have survived traumatic injuries on the front lines of war. It's just incredible stuff. You're going to have to see that. It's all in a special edition of HOUSECALL for Memorial Day weekend.

And don't forget to watch tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern to see what my weeks of reporting turned up about the food on your plates.

Thanks for watching. And don't forget to watch that as well. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Stay tuned now for more news in the CNN "NEWSROOM."