The Heart Truth® (www.hearttruth.gov), sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is a national program for women that raises awareness about heart disease and its risk factors and educates and motivates them to take action to prevent the disease. Through the program, launched in 2002, the NHLBI leads the Nation in a landmark heart health movement 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 created by the NHLBI and introduced as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002. The Red Dress® is a powerful red alert that inspires women to learn more about their personal risk for heart disease and take action to protect their heart health.
The Heart Truth is a science-based health education program built on a strong foundation of formative research. Informed by health behavior and health communications theory, the program’s underlying strategy is to implement a brand-driven social marketing mix of national programming and community interventions to raise awareness of heart disease and drive behavior change among the primary target audience - American women ages 40 to 60. The program's objectives recognize the critical need to eliminate health inequities by placing an emphasis on reaching African American and Hispanic women with heart health awareness messages and science-based public education information.
The Heart Truth's strategic framework is built on three pillars: national-level awareness-raising activities, community activation, and partnerships. From this framework, multiple tactics are developed, implemented, and evaluated to achieve The Heart Truth's objectives. National-level activities, such as National Wear Red Day®, are designed to broadly raise awareness of heart disease and its risk factors among American women. Community activation, including The Heart Truth's Community Action and Champions programs, provides community-level education to women of color and low income. Using multicultural, science-based resources, these programs help motivate women to make healthy lifestyle behavior changes. Partnerships with a wide variety of organizations - community, media, corporate, Government, nonprofit, and health professional - leverage The Heart Truth’s outreach to its target audience, amplify the program’s key public health messages, and support national activities and community programming.
The Heart Truth is one of the Nation's most successful and impactful public health education initiatives. The program has contributed to an increased awareness among women that heart disease is their leading cause of death - a 2012 American Heart Association survey showed that such awareness nearly doubled over the past 12 years, from 30 percent to 56 percent. The Red Dress symbol has achieved broad recognition and engaged the support of a significant portfolio of national-and local-level partners that contribute to achieving The Heart Truth’s goal. The NHLBI’s research and resulting science-based public health messaging and materials are helping women across the country learn to recognize their personal risk for heart disease and take behavioral action to protect their heart health.
Last Updated: June 06, 2013