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Red Dress Gaining Momentum:  Awareness of the National Symbol for Women and Heart Disease on the Rise

Less than five years after the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) launched The Heart Truth campaign and its Red Dress, 57 percent of U.S. adult women recognize the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness, up from 39 percent in 2006 and 25 percent in 2005.  

The survey was released on February 2, 2007, National Wear Red Day, a day of heart health awareness for women across the country, and The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection 2007 Fashion Show.  The survey was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and affiliated companies—a four-year sponsor of The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection and presenting sponsor of the 2007 Fashion Show—and conducted by Harris Interactive®.

Awareness that Heart Disease is the #1 Killer of Women also on the Rise

More women are aware that heart disease is their #1 killer.  In 2000, only 34 percent of women were aware that heart disease is their #1 killer.  In 2003, awareness had increased to 46 percent, and by 2006, awareness had increased to 57 percent of women.  (Journal of Women's Health, 2007.) 

Although awareness has increased among African American and Hispanic women, these groups—who are at higher risk of heart disease than white women—continue to have lower rates of awareness.  

Awareness is Leading to Action

A recent study showed that women’s knowledge about their personal risk of heart disease is associated with increased action to reduce their risk—they are more likely to step up their physical activity, eat healthier, and lose weight.  (Circulation, 2006.)

Women’s awareness about heart disease is also having a positive impact on their families.  For example, women who are more aware are more likely to take family members to the doctor for a check-up.  (Circulation, 2006.) 

The Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease sponsored by NHLBI, part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in partnership with:  Office on Women's Health, DHHS; WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease; American Heart Association; and other organizations committed to the health and well-being of women.

NHLBI created and launched the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness.  Coupled with the slogan "Heart Disease Doesn't Care What You Wear—It's the #1 Killer of Women", The Heart Truth and its Red Dress leverages a powerful influence in women's lives-fashion-to deliver a very serious and urgent wakeup call to American women.  

NHLBI continues to lead the nation in a landmark heart health awareness movement that is being embraced by millions, and its Red Dress symbol is fast becoming one of the most recognizable health symbols in the United States.  For more information, please visit www.hearttruth.gov.


Harris Interactive conducted the Red Dress Awareness Survey on behalf of The Heart Truth and Johnson & Johnson and affiliated companies by telephone within the United States between January 18 and January 21, 2007, among 1,015 adults (aged 18 and over).  Figures for age, sex, geographic region, and race were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.  With a pure probability sample of 1,015 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points.  Sampling error for the sub-samples of men (n= 505) and women (n= 510) would be higher and would vary.  However that does not take other sources of error into account.