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About The Heart Truth®

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) created The Heart Truth® in 2002. It is the first federally-sponsored national health education program designed to raise awareness about heart disease as the leading cause of death in women. Initially, the program focused on women ages 40‒60 with an emphasis on reaching women of color. In 2003, The Heart Truth introduced the Red Dress® as the national symbol for women and heart disease to bring greater visibility to risk factors and educate and motivate women to take action to protect their hearts. 

Since that time, The Heart Truth has focused on making sure women know about their risk for heart disease. Studies show women’s heart disease awareness has doubled since the launch of the program in 2002, but it still remains their leading cause of death.

Now, The Heart Truth is building on that increased awareness and expanding to reach younger women since we know that when it comes to heart disease, lifestyle changes make a big difference across the lifespan. Additionally, The Heart Truth is committed to raising awareness about heart health among the general public, especially within populations most impacted by heart disease such as African Americans and other minorities. Our outreach and education efforts aim to amplify awareness about heart disease risk factors; help people identify specific health goals to control risk factors; increase individual accountability to prevent heart disease; and grow the number of Americans who intend to take action to protect their hearts and control modifiable risk factors with a focus on:

The Heart Truth established the Healthy Hearts Network to expand our reach into local communities and collaborate with health and community professionals on heart health education initiatives. Network partners include national organizations with local affiliates; state and federal agencies; and academic, civic, and nonprofit institutions with a demonstrated interest in heart health education.

We provide free, science-based educational materials and information about heart-healthy living, coordinate American Heart Month, support National Wear Red Day®, and more. If you have questions about the program or would like to get involved in the Healthy Hearts Network, email us at 


Special Initiatives

Red Dress®

Image of the Red Dress
NHLBI and The Heart Truth introduced the Red Dress® as the national symbol for women and heart disease. Designed to emphasize that heart disease is not a “man's disease,” it originally had the tag line, “Heart Disease Doesn't Care What You Wear – It's the #1 Killer of Women.” The Red Dress is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Red Dress Collection®

red dress collection group shot.
Founded by The Heart Truth, the Red Dress Collection® fashion show is an annual event that occurs in New York City during New York Fashion Week in February. The Heart Truth partnered with the fashion industry to kick off this signature event in 2003 with the purpose of integrating public-private relationships to expand awareness of heart disease and to further the reach of messages about risk reduction and prevention. Top designers create red dresses worn on the runway by well-known women of many ages, ethnicities, and walks of life. Since 2014, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign has executed this event in collaboration with The Heart Truth.

National Wear Red Day

Woman smiling and wearing red, holding a heart symbol
NHLBI, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HHS Office on Women’s Health, and many other groups around the country annually celebrate National Wear Red Day on the first Friday in February. This day raises awareness about heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States and to educate Americans about heart disease and how to prevent it. There are many ways for you to get involved in supporting and promoting National Wear Red Day.

American Heart Month

Middle aged couple wearing red and making a heart sign
Each February, NHLBI and The Heart Truth celebrate American Heart Month by motivating Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease. Join our efforts in promoting heart health and find educational resources use in February and year round here.