About The Heart Truth
About The Heart Truth®

2008 infograph comparing the leading causes of death among women. The chart shows heart disease as the #1 killer of women.
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To make women more aware of the danger of heart disease, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is sponsoring a national program called The Heart Truth®, in partnership with many national and community organizations. The program’s goal is to raise awareness about heart disease and its risk factors among women and educate and motivate them to take action to prevent the disease and control its risk factors.

National Symbol

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 lower their risk for the disease.

Program Objectives

Primary Objectives

  1. Increase awareness that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women.
  2. Increase awareness of the risk factors for heart disease.
  3. Increase awareness that having risk factors can lead to heart disease, disability, and death.
  4. Increase perceived susceptibility to heart disease (e.g. an individual’s perception she may be at personal risk for heart disease).
  5. Increase the number of women who intend to take action to prevent heart disease and/or control its risk factors.

Secondary Objective

  1. Increase the frequency of conversations between women and their health care provider about risk for heart disease and importance of taking preventive action.

Who Are We Trying to Reach?

The program is especially for women ages 40 to 60, the age when a woman's risk for heart disease starts to rise. But its messages are also important for younger women, since heart disease develops gradually and can start at a young age-even in the teenage years. Older women have an interest too—it's never too late to take action to prevent and control the risk factors for heart disease. Even those who have heart disease can improve their heart health and quality of life.

Heart disease disproportionately affects women of color. African American and Hispanic women, in particular, have high rates of the major risk factors for heart disease, including obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The program’s objectives recognize the critical need to eliminate health inequities by placing an emphasis on reaching African American and Hispanic women with heart health awareness messages and science-based public education information.

Jennifer, Yaskary The program tells women that "The Heart Truth starts with you. Talk with your doctor, find out your risk for heart disease, and take action today to lower it." The Heart Truth’s messages are highlighted by the moving stories of women who are taking action to have a heart healthy lifestyle or are living with heart disease. Jennifer, Yaskary, Eileen, and others have allowed the program to tell The Heart Truth using their faces, voices, and experiences in hopes that All Our Stories Are Red will inspire other women take heart health seriously.

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Last Updated: March 17, 2016

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.