February Is American Heart Month

January 22, 2010 1:47:34 PM PST
February is American Heart Month, drawing attention to heart disease, America's No. 1 killer, and the strides being taken through research and education to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death rates.

Appropriately kicked off on National Wear Red Day (Feb. 5, 2010), the American Heart Association and its Go Red For Women movement urge everyone to support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red that day.

February has been celebrated as American Heart Month since 1963 to urge Americans to join the battle against heart disease. A presidential proclamation pays tribute to the researchers, physicians, other public health education professionals as well as volunteers for their tireless efforts in preventing, treating, and researching heart disease. The observation also recognizes the critical importance of developing tools that will increase survival rates from heart attacks and cardiac arrest. Consider these statistics:

  • One in three American adults has one or more types of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). More than half of those directly affected with heart disease are under the age of 60.
  • In 2008 alone, an estimated 770,000 people will have a new coronary attack. 780,000 will suffer a new or recurrent stroke.
  • CVD claims more lives than the next four most common causes of death combined.
  • Coronary heart disease is the No. 1 single killer of women over age 25, but only 21% of women view it as a health threat.
  • CVD kills over 460,000 women a year, about one per minute. On average, an American dies of CVD every 35 seconds.
  • The estimated cost of CVD in 2008 has risen to $448.8 billion.

Wear Red Day
February 5th is Wear Red Day, a national observance created by the American Heart Association. Thousands of people, employees at more than 10,000 companies, national and local news anchors and talk-show hosts will wear red to support the cause. Men and women across the nation are encouraged to show their support by wearing red on Feb. 5. The red dress and the color red are symbols for women and heart disease and the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement.

City Goes Red
Buildings throughout the country will Go Red in February to help raise awareness of women and heart disease. In Chicago, Willis Tower, the Wrigley Building, the Art Institute, 900 N. Michigan, the Smurfit-Stone Building and Blue Cross Blue Shield are just a few of the many area buildings that will be going red in February.

Go Red Sunday
The American Heart Association is calling on local churches to join in the fight against heart disease by supporting Go Red For Women Sunday. Churches and other faith-based organizations are encouraged to conduct hearth-health awareness related activities as well as invite members to wear red to services to show their support. By supporting the Go Red For Women movement, churches are informing their congregations about the importance of heart health and encouraging individuals to take action and live longer, stronger lives. To learn more about how your church can participate, contact Curvine Summers at 312-476-6654 or curvine.summers@heart.org.

Go Red For Women Luncheon
The Chicago Go Red For Women Luncheon will be held on February 26. Over 600 women will attend the empowering, half-day event which offers educational breakout sessions, free health screenings, exhibits, a heart-healthy lunch, and inspiration from our keynote speaker, Charles "Peanut" Tillman. Nancy Chagares, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Merchandising, Jewel-Osco, is the chair of year's Go Red For Women Luncheon.

About Go Red For Women
Since 2004, Go Red For Women has captured the energy, passion and intelligence of women to work collectively to wipe out heart disease -- the No. 1 killer of women. We want millions of women across America to take heart disease personally. Go Red For Women engages women and the men who love them to embrace the cause. Healthcare providers, celebrities and politicians also elevate the cause and spread the word about women and heart disease. For more information about Go Red For Women, please call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278) or visit GoRedForWomen.org. The movement is nationally sponsored by Macy's and Merck & Co., Inc.

About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2006--07 the association invested more than $554 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org.


When: February 5
Where: Macy's on State
What: The American Heart Association and Mrs. Dash is looking for women in Metro Chicago who are "Speaking Up to Save Lives." Women do not need to be a heart disease survivor; we are simply looking for women who make their voice heard on women and heart disease. Chosen participants will go on to compete for a spot in a national television special.

When: February 16
Where: McCormick Place
What: Go Red For Women will be at the 102nd edition of the Chicago Auto Show which is the largest auto show in North America and has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent. Stop on by to put your feet up in the Relax in Red lounge and check out which red car best suits you!

When: February 1 -- February 28
Where: All Jewel -- Osco's in Illinois
What: Jewel is doing numerous things at their stores throughout February. Including creating Go Red shopping bags, passing out information in store, airing Go Red information on their in store radio, and much more!

When: February 3- February 7
Where: Macy's throughout Illinois
What: Macy's, a national sponsor of Go Red For Women, is having a special sale in honor of National Wear Red Day. Customers who are wearing red Feb. 3 - 7 will receive 20% off most regular and sale price items. Customers who are not wearing red can get a red dress pin and a discount by donating $3 to the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement.

When: February
Where: Sarah's Pastries and Candies, Oak Street, Chicago and at Macy's on State
What: The boutique bakery is creating yummy red dress cookies to show support for Go Red For Women.


When: February
Where: State Street
What: A celebration and extension of Go Red For Women--the American Heart Associations movement that highlights the potentially life-changing choices that we make every day--will come to life on Chicago's famed State Street in February of 2010. State Street Beat, active during Valentines Day and beyond, will inform and inspire women and families to make healthy lifestyle choices to beat heart disease.

The main component of the exhibition will be an architectural-scale video projection featuring heart health related programming. In addition, various artful animations will express the pulse of State Street and draw connections between the Chicago Loop, human heart and healthy lifestyles. All of these graphic narratives will be tied together through the underlying messages of the Go Red For Women movement. Additional State Street exhibition assets (banners and exhibit panels) will be used to share the Go Red For Women messaging and to integrate this messaging with still images from the video programming.

When: February 1 -- February 28
Where: Palmer House Hilton, Chicago
What: The Palmer House is going red inside and out. The legendary hotel is illuminating their building, airing the Go Red For Women Choices PSA and distributing red dress stickers to guests who check in; and they're even having a special red drink promotion!

When: February 20
Where: S Factor Studio, Chicago
What: S Factor will be hosting complementary classes and a Go Red event where students can learn about cardiovascular disease in women. The event will include a story from a local survivor, mini manicures and healthy snacks provided by a local grocer.

When: February 5
Where: Oak Street, Chicago
What: Chicago's historic Oak Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood will be raising awareness by displaying go red merchandise in their store fronts, displaying window clings, staff wearing red attire and encouraging women to join the movement.


When: February 1 -- February 28
Where: Metro Chicago
What: This year we have succeeded in securing many of the landmark buildings in Metro Chicago to join this powerful and visual awareness opportunity including:

  • Wills Tower
  • John Hancock Building
  • The Wrigley Building
  • Merchandise Mart
  • Smurfit Stone Building
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • 900 N. Michigan
  • ABC7 Studios at 190 N. State
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Palmer House Hilton
  • Essex Inn Chicago
  • And many, many more!

When: Ongoing
Where: O'Hare International Airport American Airlines Baggage Terminal
What: On each of the 8 baggage terminals a poster is displayed featuring women from the American Heart Association Chicago Survivor Gallery.

When: February
Where: Essex Inn, 800 South Michigan, Chicago
What: The hotel that resides downtown Chicago on the Michigan Avenue Cultural Mile is going red by displaying large Go Red For Women window clings, displaying a "Heart Family Tree," placing red dress stickers with every room key and creating a "Room With a View and a Red Dress too" suite!

Love Your Heart: Tips for Daily Living

Make Easy Lifestyle Changes. For Example:

  • Look for short breaks each day (approx. 10-30 minutes) to implement heart healthy activities such as walking or other types of enjoyable physical activity
  • Take the Go Red Heart Checkup at www.GoRedForWomen.org to learn your heart disease risk
  • Plan quick and simple healthy meals
  • Know your family heart health history

Tips for Women at Work:

  • Add extra walks to and from the water cooler
  • Take ten minute walks between meetings
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Bring healthy snacks
  • Take time for lunch and eat at regular intervals versus skipping meals
  • Make time for physical activity -- go to the gym and bring your favorite book or office materials to read or workout at home watching your favorite show

Tips for Moms on the Go:

  • Plan meals in advance -- visit americanheart.org for recipes from a number of heart-healthy cookbooks and use the online grocery list builder to quickly identify heart-healthy products to add to your grocery list
  • Set up "physical activity time" on a daily basis
  • Walk around your neighborhood or in your office
  • Run up and down the stairs
  • Do an exercise video
  • Walk when doing errands and park farther from your destination
  • Take your kids to the park and identify play time activities that help keep you fit
  • Join a walking group or ask friends to join you in daily walking
  • Work out when your child is at practice or extra curricular activities
  • Exercise while watching your favorite TV show

Tips for Traveling for Work/Play:

  • Plan a physical activity routine
  • Airports and malls are great places to get in a brisk walk around the terminal or from one end of the mall to the other
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take time to stretch while on the flight
  • Exercise in your hotel room -- simple stretches or other exercise like sit ups and push ups
  • Take advantage of physical fitness facilities located in the hotel
  • Pack heart-healthy snacks, fruits, and know how to manage your snack triggers
  • Pack sneakers and comfortable clothes for working out
  • For frequent travel keep an extra pair of tennis shoes already packed in your bag

Love Your Heart: Relaxation Tips:

  • Keep a journal
  • Reduce stress: Plan a technology-free weekend balanced with active sports, swimming, skiing, horse-back riding, or other fun physical activity
  • Celebrate your successes with healthy rewards like a massage or facial
  • Read a book