About The Heart Truth
About The Heart Truth

Awareness of Heart Disease as the #1 Killer Drives Women to Action

The Heart Truth® continues to be successful in educating women about heart disease. The program has contributed to a significant increase in awareness among women since its launch—reaching a level that has been sustained for a number of years. However, both the American Heart Association's (AHA) 2009 benchmark survey published in Circulation and data released by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show that awareness among women that heart disease is their #1 killer has reached a plateau. Specifically, the program survey showed that though six in 10 women (62 percent) still mention heart disease as their leading cause of the death, awareness dropped from 69 percent in 2009.

Despite this plateau, the survey, fielded with support from Diet Coke, found that awareness is driving action—in 2010 women who reported recently seeing or hearing about The Heart Truth education program or the Red Dress symbol were substantially more likely than other women to take at least one risk-reducing action as a result (up from 35 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2010). Further, women who were aware of The Heart Truth program or the Red Dress were significantly more likely to have talked to their doctor about heart disease as well as ask their doctor to assess their risk compared to previous years. The Red Dress, specifically, continues to be an essential part of inspiring women to take heart-healthy steps. Sixty-five percent of women—up from 45 percent in 2005—report that the Red Dress, along with related health information, would prompt them to talk to their doctor about heart health or heart disease, and two-thirds of women agree that the Red Dress makes them want to learn more about heart disease.

The survey also probed women's reported barriers to living a heart-healthy lifestyle, which included family/care-giving responsibilities and a lack of perception of risk—indicating a continued need to help women make a personal connection to heart disease. These findings support the work of The Heart Truth, a national program sponsored by the NHLBI part of the NIH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to educate women about heart disease and prompt them to take action to protect their heart health. The Red Dress is the national symbol for women and heart disease, and an urgent reminder to every woman to care for her heart.


Last Updated: July 9, 2014

The Heart Truth®, its logo, The Red Dress®, and Red Dress® are registered trademarks of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  National Wear Red Day® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and American Heart Association.