Red is a fabulous color. It’s bright, bold, and down-right stunning. It’s also the official color of the Heart Truth campaign, by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and its partners to raise awareness about women’s risk for heart disease.
The Red Dress is the centerpiece of the campaign and was created as a national symbol in 2002. Its presence is meant to remind women that they need to protect their heart health and inspires them to take action. This Friday, February 3, everyone is encouraged to wear red to raise awareness for women’s heart disease.
The campaign is specifically targeted toward women ages 40 to 60; however, all women can benefit from the small changes encouraged as part of the campaign. Since heart disease develops gradually, it’s really never too early to start promoting healthy heart initiatives.
Some of the major risk factors for developing heart disease are obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, a family history of heart disease, diabetes, and being over the age of 55. Although genetics can definitely play a role in susceptibility to these risk factors, changing lifestyle behaviors can also greatly impact an individuals likelihood of developing the condition.
Although eating a well-balanced diet, staying physically active, and keeping weight in check all seem like simple notions that most people know, it’s often hard to put those general principles into practice. This is probably true because it’s difficult to envision these large scale ideas as small individual actions we make on a daily basis. These small behaviors eventually add up and result in preventative steps toward heart disease prevention.
To help people better understand the importance of preventative measures and to identify their risk, individuals across the nation are encouraged to get involved in their local community to help spread the word about heart disease. If you aren’t sure where to start, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has many wonderful suggestions and resources to truly make an impact. After all, it only takes one person to start a revolution – healthy or otherwise.
Host a Red Party. Who doesn’t love a good party? Whether you decide to host an intimate dinner party with your closest gal pals or decide to champion a community-wide luncheon, bringing people together is a great first step in spreading awareness. It’s also a great opportunity to show that a heart healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be something you only adopt when your physician or dietitian is around. Invite attendees to share their personal heart health stories, showcase a heart healthy menu, or even bring in an enthusiastic dance instructor to show everyone how to move it and shake it on the dance floor for a little extra physical activity.
Eat Red. If hosting a full-blown party just isn’t your thing, perhaps spreading the message at home is more your style. Ask your children and your spouse to all come up with their favorite red foods. Tomatoes, red peppers, chilis, strawberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, and watermelon are just a few to consider. Once you have your list of red delights, put together a menu featuring a few of these delicious items. While you spend time preparing these foods, talk to your family about the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables and how they can help keep their hearts healthy and strong for years to come.
Skip the Valentines and Send Your Friend a Reminder Card. February is a month all about red, heart health or not. In large part, this is due to the fact that Valentine’s Day is February 14th. This year, instead of sending a traditional valentine to your dearest friends, why not send a red card with a lot more meaning? Deliver it by hand or by mail, and encourage your friend to get their yearly check up. Nothing says “I love you” like a reminder to visit your physician to determine your heart disease risk.
Go Virtual. Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlet, tweeting and messaging your friends about the Heart Truth campaign is another great way to spread awareness. In fact, you can even find ready-made tweets and messages to share on your timelines and feeds. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to follow The Heart Truth on Facebook and on Twitter.
Wear Red. One of the easiest ways to spread awareness is to wear red. You can wear a red shirt, dress, jogging suit, or simply stick with the red dress pin available on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s website. It’s a simple reminder to others that their heart matters.
National Wear Red Day is February 3, 2012. Individuals are encouraged to wear a red dress pin and help spread the word about the importance of maintaining a healthy heart through the incorporation of diet, exercise, and regular check ups with physicians. For more information and inspiring ideas on how to spread that message, visit the Heart Truth campaign website.