The Heart Truth® Promotes Women’s Heart Health

About the Heart Truth®

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute launched The Heart Truth®, a national health education program, to raise awareness about heart disease as the leading cause of death in women. The program introduced the Red Dress® as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness to bring greater visibility to risk factors and educate and motivate women to take action to be heart healthy. Upon initial launch in 2002, the program targeted women ages 40-60 with a special focus on women of color. Over the last two decades, awareness has increased but heart disease remains the leading cause of death for all Americans. Recently, The Heart Truth® has shifted its focus to target younger women and other populations vulnerable to heart disease.

Building on decades of increased awareness, The Heart Truth® targets Americans earlier, younger, and sooner because lifestyle factors (i.e. nutrition, physical activity, sleep, smoking, and stress) make a big difference on heart health across the lifespan. The program is specifically working to shift from awareness to action and stresses that the truth is there’s something we can do at every stage of life to reduce the risk of heart disease. Through its outreach efforts, The Heart Truth® aims to increase awareness about risk factors for heart disease; help Americans identify specific health goals to control risk factors; increase self-efficacy to prevent heart disease; and increase the number of Americans who intend to take action to protect their hearts and control modifiable risk factors.

The Heart Truth® established its Healthy Hearts Network, a partnership network of national organizations with local affiliates, state and federal agencies, and academic, civic and nonprofit institutions with a demonstrated interest in heart health, to expand its reach into local communities and collaborate with health and community professionals on heart health education initiatives.   

We provide free, science-based educational materials and information about heart-healthy living, coordinate American Heart Month, and 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 HealthEdu@nhlbi.nih.gov.

Past Programs
- The Heart Truth® Promotes Women’s Heart Health

Champions Program

The Heart Truth Champions Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health, provided a day of training for individuals—including an overview of heart disease by a local cardiologist and/or nurse; personal stories of women with heart disease; an overview of The Heart Truth and Champions Program; and an overview of The Heart Truth’s education materials for the public and health professionals. Additionally, the training provided an interactive community audit and action plan development session. To date, The Heart Truth has trained 678 Champions who have conducted more than 790 community events, which have reached more than 633,000 people.

The Heart Truth Champions represent faith-based, civic, women’s, and/or health organizations. They may be community leaders, health educators, wellness directors, nurses, or other individuals who work at the local level and talk directly to people about their health. Most importantly, The Heart Truth Champions offer access to an extensive community network, especially populations of women that bear a disproportionate burden from heart disease. Champions are selected based on their current position and involvement in health education and community outreach in their local area.

National Wear Red Day®

NHLBI, 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 to raise awareness about heart disease in women and to educate Americans about the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer in women and it is largely preventable. There are many ways for you to get involved in this important cause. Host a local National Wear Red Day tribute with your coworkers, with your families, or with your larger community.