Health Matters 2013: Barbra Streisand announces $2 million pledge to women’s heart research

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Actress Barbra Streisand wants to talk potato chips.

She took the stage in La Quinta on Tuesday at President Bill Clinton’s second-annual Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation Conference.

Streisand, a member of the Cedars-Sinai board of directors, briefly talked about health and junk food.

“I want to start with potato chips,” she said after the applause faded. “Not to eat. Americans spend $7.9 billion a year on potato chips.”

Streisand then announced a $2 million donation from the Cedars-Sinai’s Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center to go toward women’s heart issues and launching a national campaign to spread awareness and increase education.

“The pledges made during this conference will undoubtedly impact many lives for years to come,” the philanthropist and actress said before leaving the stage.

Moments later, Chelsea Clinton opened a panel on “Access to Healthy Lifestyles” with a nod to the pledge.

It will help mothers and grandmothers stay alive and well to care for their families, panelist Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz said. She is director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.

Research into women’s heart health is decades behind research into men’s, she said.

“We still are at least 35 years behind the knowledge that we know about men’s heart disease. That’s primarily because research was done with men, for men and by men,” Merz said.