They may also have fewer teaching hospitals and fewer doctors per capita, she said. "When you look at the middle of the country and the South, they are about a decade or five years behind in getting the message that simple changes in diet and activity can have an impact," she said.
However, living in one of these 10 cities doesn't guarantee an unhealthy future, Mieres said. "What we're trying to do is to get women across the country to recognize that whether or not you live in a heart-friendly city, heart disease can be prevented."
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Women's Health Program at New York University Medical Center, agreed. "The wrong take-away message is that you would have to move to prevent heart disease," she said.
Another cardiologist, Dr. Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/ Columbia University Medical Center, said future studies should look at factors like air quality, bans on trans fat in restaurants, and the availability of fresh produce in inner cities.
"These are some of the environmental factors that may have a significant influence on heart disease that are within the social and political control of cities," Mosca said.
But the best advice remains: Eat healthy, get physically active, and track your blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and weight and keep them in a healthy range.
Learn more about heart disease in women from the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Jennifer Mieres, M.D., spokeswoman, American Heart Association, and director, nuclear cardiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director, Women's Health Program, New York University Medical Center, New York City; Lori Mosca, M.D., Ph.D., director of preventive cardiology, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York City; May 19, 2008, news release, American Heart Association