It was exactly 5 years ago today that I was offered my job at
MMG. Although remembering such dates is my party trick, there's a
really important reason I remember this date. I was offered this
job and an opportunity to work on the Smokefree Women campaign on
Feb. 5, 2010, which just so happened to be National
Wear Red Day that year. I was, indeed, wearing red that day.
And here we are, 5 years later, and I am still wearing red and
still just as passionate about the cause.
To bring you up to speed, National Wear Red Day® is
sponsored by the American Heart Association and is celebrated on
the first Friday of every February. The day seeks to raise
awareness of heart disease in women by encouraging "everyone to
wear red, raise their voices, know their cardiovascular risk, and
take action to live longer, healthier lives."
Since the campaign first launched in 2003, a significant amount
of progress in the fight against heart disease and stroke in women
has been made. Some of the highlights include that:
- Nearly 90 percent of women have made a least one healthy
- Nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke today
than just more than a decade ago
- Death among women has decreased by more than 30 percent across
the past 10 years
However, there's still a great deal of work to be done. Each
year, one out of every three women dies of heart disease or stroke,
and heart disease remains the number one killer of women. And
here's the even more startling fact: 80 percent of cardiac events
can be prevented by lifestyle changes.
Organizations including the American Heart Association, the
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Office on Women's
Health, and the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services now have full campaigns promoting
National Wear Red Day, and they want you to get involved! For
information and inspiration, check out this
toolkit which was created by the NHLBI and funded by the Office
on Women's Health.
National Wear Red day is a prime example of a health
communications campaign done right. With year over year increases
in both awareness and behavior change, the campaign sets a high
bar. It's a pointed campaign without being preachy and it
successfully empowers women (and the people who love them) to take
charge of their health, and most importantly, their hearts.
If you'd like to get involved in your own campaign to raise
awareness of heart disease and stroke among women, here are a few
ideas to get you started: