About The Heart Truth
About The Heart Truth

Awareness of Heart Disease as the Number One Killer of Women Continues to Increase, but Women Struggle to Manage Risk Factors

New data released by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health show that among all women, the level of awareness of heart disease as their number one killer continues to increase, particularly among women in older age groups including those more at risk of getting heart disease. A recent study fielded by Diet Coke on behalf of The Heart Truth®, showed that nearly seven in 10 women mentioned heart disease as the leading cause of death among women. This is an increase from six in 10 women from the 2008 survey sponsored by Diet Coke.

An additional online study conducted by a Heart Truth media partner, Woman’s Day, also found that women are more aware of the risk factors contributing to heart disease. This study showed however, that women are challenged by their ability to take control of these aspects of their heart health. Sixty-two percent reported finding it difficult to exercise at the nationally recommended level of 30 minutes most days of the week, and more than half struggle to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Even with awareness on the rise, many women do not take heart disease seriously or personally. Data from the NHLBI shows that if women have just one risk factor—like high blood pressure, smoking, or being overweight—their risk of heart disease doubles. Studies show that one-third of women still underestimate their own personal risk of getting heart disease, and too many still die from heart disease.

These findings support the work of The Heart Truth, a national campaign sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute part of the National Institutes of Health, 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 campaign message is paired with an arresting visual—the Red Dress—designed to warn women that heart disease is their number one killer. The Heart Truth study showed overall awareness of the Red Dress symbol has increased significantly—to 68 percent, up from 25 percent in 2005.


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Last Updated: February 29, 2012

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.