News Release

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Heart Truth Road Show Travels to Three Cities

Tour Features Free Screenings and Counseling, Health Information, and Designer Red Dresses on Display.

The Heart Truth Road Show, a heart health exhibit, will travel to local communities this spring to provide free health screenings, announced the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In collaboration with the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the HHS Office on Women’s Health (OWH), the tour will stop in Pittsburgh, Memphis, and Washington, DC.

Only 13 percent of women consider heart disease to be their own greatest health risk. Yet an astonishing 80 percent of midlife women have one or more risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol.

“We know that there is a disconnect among women as it relates to heart disease and their own personal risk,” said NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. “Therefore, it is critical for NHLBI and our partners to be in communities that are at high risk of heart disease to help women better understand their own personal risk and empower them to take action for heart health.”

The Heart Truth Road Show travels first to Pittsburgh’s Century III Mall in West Mifflin, PA on April 21-23, and then stops at Southland Mall in Memphis, TN on April 28-30. The tour concludes in Washington, DC at Union Station on May 12-14, which is Mother’s Day weekend and the kickoff of National Women’s Health Week. Visit for additional information, including screening schedules.

Heart health screenings are an important step in assessing risk for heart disease. The Heart Truth Road Show will provide free screenings for diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and body mass index. Also at each stop, ACC members, cardiovascular health care professionals, will be on hand to provide counseling. “Many women don’t realize that their risk for heart disease significantly increases based on the number of risk factors they have,” noted Dr. Nabel. “In fact, having just one risk factor can increase a woman’s chance of developing heart disease twofold. Having two risk factors increases the chance fourfold, and having three or more risk factors increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease more than tenfold.”

The heart health exhibit will also highlight NHLBI’s Red Dress, the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness first introduced by The Heart Truth’s ambassador Mrs. Laura Bush. Accompanying the free screening and educational materials will be a display of six designer red dresses from The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection Fashion Shows, which are held each February in New York at Olympus Fashion Week. Designs to be exhibited at each mall include those worn by the following celebrities: Calvin Klein worn by model Christie Brinkley; Carmen Marc Valvo worn by singer Lee Ann Womack; Tracy Reese worn by the Mamas and the Papas singer Michelle Phillips; Betsey Johnson worn by singer Nelly Furtado; Luca Luca worn by tennis star Venus Williams; and Esteban Cortazar worn by “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul.

NHLBI continues to lead the nation in a landmark heart health awareness movement that is getting results and raising awareness across the country. A 2005 survey shows that 55 percent of American women know that heart disease is the leading killer of women, up from 34 percent in 2000.

The Institute created the Red Dress to deliver an urgent wake-up call to American women, and it has become the much-needed rallying symbol to unite partners — the fashion world, the women’s health community, major corporations, and voluntary and community groups — toward a common goal of greater awareness and better heart health for all women.

The Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease. Its 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. for more information.

The American College of Cardiology, a 33,000- member nonprofit professional medical society and teaching institution, is dedicated to fostering optimal cardiovascular care and disease prevention through professional education, promotion of research, leadership in the development of standards and guidelines, and the formulation of health care policy.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) 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:

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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