News Release

Friday, February 1, 2013

NIH urges women to protect their heart health and to encourage others to do the same

During American Heart Month, The Heart Truth Campaign encourages action by highlighting personal experiences with heart disease.

During American Heart Month in February 2013, The Heart Truth campaign of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) will celebrate the stories of women taking action to protect their hearts and who are inspiring and motivating others to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

Women and men across the country will kick off the month on Friday, Feb. 1 by participating in the 11th annual National Wear Red Day, which encourages all Americans to wear red to show their support for raising awareness of women's heart disease. The NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Over the past 11 years, The Heart Truth campaign has raised awareness that heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States. Closing the gap between awareness and prevention of heart disease remains a critical public health imperative, and with the information, tools, and support offered by The Heart Truth, women have tremendous power to create change,” said Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the NHLBI.

More women are finding out their personal risk for developing heart disease. In a 2009 American Heart Association survey, 48 percent reported discussing heart disease with their doctor, up from 30 percent in 1997. Women can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease by managing cholesterol levels, controlling blood pressure, not smoking, and adopting other healthy habits such as eating well, being active, and keeping a healthy weight.

This year, the campaign focuses on the importance of women talking with each other and sharing their stories in the fight against heart disease.

"Every woman has a role to play and a story to share. Informed women who have recognized the benefits of positive changes in their lives have the power to inspire, encourage, and motivate others to make healthy changes," said Nakela Cook, M.D., medical officer at the NHLBI.

The Heart Truth and its partners will host events during American Heart Month to showcase women’s personal heart disease prevention journeys and help motivate all women to take healthy lifestyle actions that lower their risk for heart disease.

National Wear Red Day: Friday, Feb. 1

The Heart Truth will celebrate the 11th National Wear Red Day, when Americans nationwide wear red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness. The Heart Truth is partnering with Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) to host a Twitter chat from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET on National Wear Red Day as part of its commitment to reaching communities that are disproportionally affected by heart disease. African-American women have higher rates of some risk factors for heart disease and therefore are at higher risk for heart disease. African-American women are also more likely to die of heart disease, and at younger ages, than white women.

Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, NHLBI Director Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, and Centric Executive Vice President and General Manager Paxton Baker will participate in the chat. Women will be asked to share their experiences to encourage others to adopt heart-healthier lifestyles. To join the conversation, follow @thehearttruth and look for the hashtag #myheartchat.

The Heart Truth also encourages women across the country to join its Rally to Wear Red on Facebook by sharing photos of themselves wearing red and by posting their heart-healthy success stories. For more information, visit

Red Dress CollectionFashion Show: Wednesday, Feb. 6

Through a public/private partnership with the ACC, The Heart Truth unveils the 11th Red Dress Collection at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Kicking off New York Fashion Week, the Red Dress Collection 2013 Fashion Show will feature more than 20 celebrities walking the runway in fashions created by some of America's top designers. The show is presented by Diet Coke with support from partner WebMD.

“Heart disease in women is a major, yet often preventable, health problem and through the ACC’s CardioSmart initiative we have made it a top priority to raise awareness of women’s heart health issues and lifestyles that promote prevention,” said William Zoghbi, M.D., president of the ACC. “The Red Dress Fashion Show sends a powerful message to women that it’s never too late to reduce their heart disease risk factors. As the largest organization representing members of the cardiology team, we are proud to support this message to promote heart health in women.”

“Diet Coke looks forward to supporting The Heart Truth with our fans. Together, we will raise awareness for this important cause and encourage loved ones to participate in this important effort,” said Erik Jenkins, Diet Coke brand manager. “The easiest way to get involved is to use the hashtag #ShowYourHeart to spread the word. When the hashtag is used with heart-inspired photos on Instagram and Twitter, Diet Coke will make a donation to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in support of women’s heart health education and research.”

Celebrity participants include:

  • Brenda Strong, television actress
  • Chiquinquira Delgado,Entertainment Tonight guest host
  • Gabby Douglas, Olympic gold medalist gymnast
  • Kelly Osbourne, fashion icon and Fashion Police host on E! Entertainment Television
  • Kendall and Kylie Jenner, models and West Coast fashion contributors for Seventeen magazine
  • Kris Jenner, star and executive producer of the television series Keeping Up With the Kardashians
  • Minka Kelly, film and television actress
  • Fran Drescher, film and television actress, comedian, and producer
  • Jamie Chung, film actress
  • Jillian Michaels, personal trainer and star of The Biggest Loser
  • Nastia Liukin, Olympic gold medalist gymnast
  • Roselyn Sanchez, actress and singer
  • Savannah Guthrie,TODAY show host
  • Soledad O’Brien, CNN anchor
  • Toni Braxton, Grammy-award winning singer
  • Torah Bright, Olympic gold medalist snowboarder
  • Wendy Williams, The Wendy Williams Show host

Participating designers include: Adrianna Papell, Badgley Mischka, Black Halo Eve, Carmen Marc Valvo, Cushnie et Ochs, Carlos Miele, Carolina Herrera, David Meister, Herve L. Leroux, Marc Bouwer, Nicole Miller, Norma Kamali, Oscar de la Renta, Pamella Roland, Reem Acra, Tadashi Shoji, and Zac Posen. Participants and designers in The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection 2013 Fashion Show were confirmed at time of release and are subject to change.

The Red Dress Collection Fashion Show will be streamed live on The Heart Truth'sFacebook page on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. ET at

Spanish-language Facebook chat: Wednesday, Feb. 13

Recent data from the NHLBI Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos shows that the majority of Hispanic women — 71 percent — have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Yet, according to American Heart Association (AHA) awareness data, only 8 percent of Hispanic women consider heart disease to be their greatest health problem. As part of The Heart Truth’s efforts to reach Hispanic women, the campaign, its media partner Siempre Mujermagazine, and the AHA will host a Spanish-language Facebook chat from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET at Chat participants will gain heart-healthy tips from experts, share their own successes, and learn from others.

Free screenings on National Heart Health Awareness Day: Wednesday, Feb. 14

The Heart Truth campaign provides a call to action to women to seek preventive services and make healthy lifestyle changes. This Valentine’s Day, the ACC's patient education and support initiative, CardioSmart, is partnering with major national health care institutions and academic medical centers to sponsor a National Heart Health Awareness Day in which women can obtain free heart health screenings and participate in educational programs. For more information on the location and timing of the screenings, visit

Those unable to attend the screenings can visit to learn more about risk factor screenings to help them assess their heart disease risk.

About The Heart Truth:The Heart Truth is a national campaign for women about heart disease and is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Through the campaign, the NHLBI leads the nation in a landmark heart health movement embraced by millions who share the common goal of better heart health for all women.

The centerpiece of The Heart Truth is the Red Dress, which was introduced as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 by the NHLBI. The Red Dress reminds women of the need to protect their heart health, and inspires them to take action.

To learn more, visit

The Heart Truth and its logo are registered trademarks of HHS.

Red Dress and Red Dress Collection are service marks of HHS.

About The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: 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

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®



On February 4, 2013 this release was edited to reflect changes in celebrity and designer participants.