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NIH encourages women to take charge of their heart health

The Heart Truth campaign's activities inspire heart health action during Heart Month

On Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) The Heart Truth campaign will once again bring the Red Dress to life on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, with the debut of the Red Dress Collection 2011. For the first time, the event will be held at Lincoln Center. More than 20 celebrity participants will display the power of the Red Dress, and encourage women to protect their heart health and take action to lower their risk for heart disease.

Heart disease awareness in women has doubled in the last 12 years, and the awareness gap between older and younger women is narrowing. Data also show that women are taking preventive actions. Women who know that heart disease is the leading cause of death are more likely to be physically active and try to lose excess weight.

"Women of all ages are paying attention and choosing to take charge of their heart health," said Susan Shurin, M.D., acting director of the NHLBI, which has long been at the forefront of women's heart disease research and the translation of that research into knowledge that directly reaches women. "Women in their 20s and 30s have the power to protect their hearts from later development of disease by adopting simple changes, such as eating well, being physically active, not smoking, and keeping a healthy weight."

Although heart disease awareness is on the rise, one-third of women still underestimate their own risk for heart disease. Only 16 percent recognize heart disease as the greatest health problem facing women.

To help American women continue to improve their knowledge of heart disease and become further empowered to take action, the NHLBI and its partners will host a number of activities during American Heart Month as part of The Heart Truth campaign.

National Wear Red Day: Friday, Feb. 4

The Heart Truth organizers will again sponsor National Wear Red Day, when Americans nationwide wear red to show their support for women's heart disease awareness. This year, the campaign is encouraging participants to snap a picture of themselves or a group and share their action steps online to support heart health. For more information, visit The Heart Truth Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/?sk=lf#!/pages/The-Heart-Truth/6476847301.

Red Dress Fashion Show: Wednesday, Feb. 9

The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2011 will open Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. More than 20 celebrity participants will showcase the power of the Red Dress to encourage women to take action to protect their heart health. Featuring nearly 70 top fashion houses and 150 celebrities since its inception, this annual event - made possible through a partnership with the fashion industry - has helped to establish the Red Dress as one of the most recognizable health symbols in the country.

This year's Red Dress Collection is presented by Diet Coke with national sponsor Swarovski and partners Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and AOL.

"For four years, Diet Coke has been a passionate supporter of The Heart Truth. This year we're offering consumers more ways than ever to participate in the effort. We invite consumers nationwide to join us in capturing flags to help raise awareness and funding for heart health programs," said William White, group director of Coke North America. "We are dedicated to encouraging new generations of people to be active, stay extraordinary and become advocates for heart health."

Celebrity participants in this year's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show include: The Biggest Loser's Alison Sweeney, Today Show host Ann Curry, The Good Wife's Archie Punjabi, reality television star Audrina Patridge, So You Think You Can Dance's Cat Deeley, television actress and Cover Girl Dania Ramirez, actress and former fashion model Denise Richards, actress and burlesque artist Dita Von Teese, Californication's Eva Amurri, recording artist Eve, actress and model Garcelle Beauvais, talk show host Gayle King, E! anchor Giuliana Rancic, singer and actress Julianne Hough, former professional boxer Laila Ali, television and screen actress Linda Gray, singer Patti LaBelle, Law & Order: SVU's Stephanie March, Three's Company/Step by Step actress Suzanne Somers, and Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson. *

Participating designers in the 2011 Collection include: Alberta Ferretti, Badgley Mischka, Catherine Malandrino, Carmen Marc Valvo, Chris Benz, Daniel Swarovski, David Meister, Donna Karan, Ina Soltani, Matthew Williamson, Monique Lhuillier, Naeem Khan, Notte by Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Pamella Roland, A Pea in the Pod, Tadashi Shoji, Tracy Reese, Zac Posen, and Zang Toi.

Panel Discussion on Women and Heart Disease: Tuesday, Feb. 8

A special panel discussion, In the Prime of her Life: An Update on Women and Cardiovascular Disease, will be held at the Paley Center for Media in New York City. In addition to Dr. Shurin, the event will feature Sharonne Hayes, M.D., director of the Women's Heart Clinic at Mayo Clinic and associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media. Other panel participants include the NHLBI's Nakela Cook, M.D., and Patrice Desvigne-Nickens, M.D.

Following the discussion and a lunch reception, audience members can continue the conversation with heart disease survivors.

The Paley Center for Media is at 25 West 52 Street, New York, NY 10019. To see all participating experts and a schedule of events, visit www.mayoclinic.org/news/heartdiseasemediabriefing.html.

Community Action Grants: Tuesday, Feb. 1

For the fourth consecutive year, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) will award grants across the United States to help communities encourage heart disease awareness and foster action, especially among women of color, women with low incomes, and women who live in rural areas.

This year's recipients include:

  • Cardiology Associates Foundation, Jonesboro, Ark.
  • YWCA Middle Rio Grande, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Wheaton Franciscan St. Joseph, Glendale, Wis.
  • SWAH Empowerment, Inc., Sparta, Ga.
  • The Hope Heart Institute, Bellevue,Wash.
  • Community Health Network Foundation, Berlin, Wis.
  • Covenant Health, Knoxville, Tenn.
To date, 23 grants have been awarded by the FNIH as part of a public-private partnership with the NHLBI in support of The Heart Truth. Funding for the grants is provided by partners of The Heart Truth.

Red Dress Auction

For the third year in a row, The Heart Truth is partnering with Clothes Off Our Back, an organization that hosts charity auctions with proceeds benefitting children's charities, to drive awareness of heart disease in women through an online auction. The auction features a selection of designer dresses and jewelry worn by celebrities in The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show. The auction kicked off in January with an opportunity to win two tickets to this year's fashion show. Items will continue to be auctioned off through early March. For more details, visit www.clothesoffourback.org. Proceeds will benefit the FNIH in support of women's heart health education and research.

For additional information, visit www.hearttruth.gov or email your inquiry to media@hearttruth.org.

Please Note:
* Participants in The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2011 Fashion Show were confirmed at time of release and are subject to change.

About The Heart Truth

The Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease and is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Through the campaign, the NHLBI leads the nation in a landmark heart health awareness movement that is being embraced by millions who share the common goal of better heart health for all women.

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 DressĀ® reminds women of the need to protect their heart health, and inspires them to take action. To learn more, visit www.hearttruth.gov. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) - The Nation's Medical Research Agency - includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

The Heart Truth, its logo, and The Red Dress are registered trademarks of HHS.
National Wear Red Day is a registered trademark of HHS and the American Heart Association.

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