|During Heart Month and on National Wear
Red Day, Heart Truth Campaign Raises Awareness
Heart Disease Deaths Continue Decline — but Increases in
Heart Disease Risk Factors in Young Women May Threaten Progress
February is American Heart Month, and the National Heart, Lung,
and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) landmark heart health awareness campaign
for women — The Heart Truth — continues to help increase
awareness that heart disease is the No.1 killer of women.
Kicking off Heart Month is today's National Wear Red Day, a national
observance that encourages Americans to wear red to raise awareness.
Next Friday, Feb.13, under the tents in New York's Bryant Park,
The Heart Truth will hold its sixth annual Red Dress Collection
Fashion Show — an event that celebrates the Red Dress as
the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. The
event will bring more than 20 of today's leading celebrities together
on the runway in fashions created by America's top designers for
women's heart health.
Today, the NHLBI, part of the National Institutes of Health, is
also announcing signs of progress. Heart disease deaths in women
have gone down in each of the seven years since 1999 — from
373,575 in 1999 to 315, 674 deaths in 2006. This decrease of more
than 15 percent is a consecutive yearly decline that has not occurred
NHLBI experts analyzed data for 2006, the most recent year for
which data are available. The analysis shows that women are living
longer and healthier lives, and dying of heart disease at much
later ages than in the past years. However, data on increasing
rates of overweight and obesity, important risk factors for heart
disease, in younger women indicate there could be a greater prevalence
of heart disease in later years.
"Women must get serious about heart disease and take control
of their heart health, starting at an early age," said Elizabeth
G. Nabel, M.D., director of NHLBI. "Younger women need to
take steps now, like eating a healthy diet and being physically
active, to help prevent heart disease later."
Additionally, a new survey, conducted in January 2009, shows that
65 percent of women are aware that heart disease is their No.1
killer, a slight increase from 2008. However, even with awareness
on the rise, many women do not take this message seriously or personally.
One-third of women still underestimate their own personal risk
of getting heart disease, and too many — one in four women — still
die from heart disease.
"Understanding your personal risk of heart disease really
matters. Having just one risk factor for heart disease — like
high blood pressure or being overweight — doubles your chance
of developing heart disease. And the alarming fact is that more
than 80 percent of midlife women have one or more of the risk factors," said
Dr. Nabel noted that the Feb. 13 fashion show — presented
by Diet Coke, with national sponsors Swarovski and Tylenol/St.
Joseph Aspirin/Viactiv, and makeup partner Bobbi Brown Cosmetics — brings
focused attention to the issue of heart disease and women.
In another awareness-raising activity, The Heart Truth in partnership
with Clothes Off Our Back, is, for the first time, auctioning off
several red designer dresses worn by celebrities in The Heart Truth's
Red Dress Collection Fashion Shows at www.clothesoffourback.org.
The dresses up for auction will be on display at Rockefeller Center's
Top of the Rock Observation Deck from Feb. 14 through Feb. 21.
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) will
use proceeds from the auction to benefit and fund efforts related
to women's heart health awareness and research.
"I am delighted that the fashion and entertainment industries
will again join with The Heart Truth in urging women to take charge
of their heart health," said Dr. Nabel. "Since The Heart
Truth began seven years ago, millions of women have learned that
heart disease is their No.1 killer through our efforts at the national
level, but equally important through our community programs aimed
at reaching women who are at high risk for heart disease."
Women of color continue to have higher rates of some risk factors
for heart disease and are more likely to die of the disease. To
help address this issue, the NHLBI and the FNIH recently awarded
community education grants to: Cardiology Associates Foundation,
Arkansas; The National Latina Health Network; and The Links, Incorporated.
The grants will support community outreach to women — especially
those of color, low income, or in rural areas — to help prevent
Last week, the DHHS Office on Women's Health, a Heart Truth Partner,
funded 48 mini-contracts to support the goals of The Heart Truth
campaign through educational events across the 10 regions of the
United States. State Health Departments, women's health organizations,
faith-based organizations, and academic institutions will be offering
these events over the next 6 months.
The Heart Truth aims to spread the word that heart disease is
largely preventable. Women have tremendous power to reduce their
risk of heart disease and lead a longer, healthier life. In fact,
by doing just four things — eating right, being physically
active, not smoking, and keeping a healthy weight — Americans
can lower their risk by as much as 82 percent. Risk factors for
heart disease include:
- age (55 or older for women);
- a family history of early heart disease;
- high blood pressure;
- high blood cholesterol;
- being overweight or obese; and
- being physically inactive.
NHLBI's introduction of The Heart Truth's Red Dress as the national
symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 sparked a
national movement that has united partners to promote the common
goal of a greater awareness of heart disease and better heart health
for all women. The Red Dress has become one of the most recognizable
health symbols in the United States. More than half of women recognize
the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease.
Celebrity participants in this year's Red Dress Collection Fashion
Show include: Amanda Beard, Brittany Snow, , Daisy Fuentes, Hilary
Duff, Jane Kaczmarek, Jennie Garth, Katie Couric, Kristi Yamaguchi,
Laila Ali, Lynda Carter, Nastia Liukin, Natasha Henstridge, Nia
Long, Patricia Arquette, Samantha Harris, Susan Lucci, Tori Spelling,
Valerie Bertinelli, and Vivica A. Fox.
Participating designers in the 2009 Collection include Badgley
Mischka, Betsey Johnson, Carmen Marc Valvo, Carolina Herrera, Christian
Siriano, Cushnie et Ochs, Daniel Swarovski, David Meister, Donna
Karan, Gustavo Cadile, Isaac Mizrahi, Kevan Hall, Marchesa, Max
Azria, Michael Kors, Nicole Miller, Tracy Reese, Vera Wang, and
For additional information, visit www.hearttruth.gov or email
your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Note: Participants in The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection
2009 Fashion Show were confirmed at time of release and are subject
About The Heart Truth
The Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign for women about
heart disease sponsored by NHLBI, part of the National Institutes
of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Heart Truth's Red Dress reminds women of the need to protect
their heart health, and inspires them to take action. NHLBI continues
to lead the nation in a landmark heart health awareness movement
that is being embraced by millions who share the common goal of
greater awareness and better heart health for all women.
The Heart Truth partners include: The Office on Women's Health,
Department of Health and Human Services; the American Heart Association;
WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease,
and other organizations committed to the health and well-being
of women. To learn more about The Heart Truth campaign, visit www.hearttruth.gov.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers
and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic,
clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates
the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute plans, conducts, and supports research
related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of
heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders.
The Institute also administers national health education campaigns
on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and
other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available
online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.