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The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Rings In National Wear Red Day with the Red Dress Collection 2006


Female Musical Artists Rock the Runway to Remind Women of Their #1 Killer.

New York, NY — The Heart Truth, NHLBI’s national awareness campaign for women about heart disease, celebrates National Wear Red Day with the debut of its annual Red Dress Collection Fashion Show. Reminding women that “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear — It’s the No. 1 Killer of Women,” The Heart Truth will bring to life the Red Dress, the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. A star-studded cadre of female musical artists, including Sheryl Crow, LeAnn Rimes, Amerie, Lindsay Lohan, and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, will model designer Red Dresses by 21 of America’s most influential designers, including Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein.

With the support of the fashion and entertainment industries and Red Dress Collection 2006 co-sponsors Johnson & Johnson and affiliated companies, and Celestial Seasonings, and Swarovski, the fashion show will feature a live musical performance and will be held at 3 p.m. on February 3, under the tents at Olympus Fashion Week at Bryant Park in New York City.

The effort aims to spread the word that heart disease is largely preventable. In fact, just by leading a healthy lifestyle — such as following a heart healthy eating plan, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking — Americans can lower their risk by as much as 82 percent.

“I’m thrilled that once again a renowned group of fashion and entertainment icons are uniting to share The Heart Truth and to show American women that being heart healthy never goes out of style,” said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., director of NHLBI, one of the National Institutes of Health. “All across the country, millions of women are acting upon this urgent message and working to improve their heart health.”

NHLBI created and launched the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women. The creation of the Red Dress provided the much-needed rallying symbol to unite partners — the fashion world, women’s health community, major corporations, and voluntary and community groups — toward a common goal of greater awareness and better heart health for all 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 has become a widely recognized health symbol across the country. Lifetime Television, in conjunction with NHLBI, conducted a new national poll on women’s behaviors and perceptions of heart disease. The poll found striking improvements in women’s awareness of heart disease and their acknowledgment of personal risk. According to the findings, more than half of women correctly identify heart disease as the leading cause of death among women, up from 46 percent in 2003, and 31 percent of women feel that they are personally at risk for heart disease. A comparable survey conducted in 2003 found that 13 percent of women named heart disease as their own greatest health risk. Additionally, 39 percent of women recognize the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness, up from 25 percent in 2005.

“It’s heartening to see that The Heart Truth and its partners are succeeding in helping more and more women learn about their No. 1 killer and understand their own personal risk,” said Dr. Nabel. ”But we still have more to do to alert women to the seriousness of heart disease, especially to the dangers of having multiple risk factors.”

An astonishing 80 percent of midlife women (ages 40 to 60) have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Having one or more risk factors dramatically increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease because risk factors tend to worsen each other’s effects. In fact, according to research compiled by NHLBI, having just one risk factor can increase your chance of developing heart disease twofold. Two risk factors increase your risk fourfold, while having three or more risk factors increases your risk for heart disease more than tenfold.

“It is vitally important for women to talk to their doctors about their risks for heart disease and to take action today to lead a heart healthy life,” says Dr. Nabel. “Women are role models for their children and families, and as women improve their heart health, they can help improve the health of our nation.”

Some risk factors, such as age (55 or older for women) and a family history of early heart disease, can’t be changed. Women can, however, control certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, being overweight or obese, and being physically inactive. For midlife women, the most common risk factors for heart disease in order of greatest prevalence include, overweight/obesity, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

African American and Hispanic women, in particular, have higher rates of some risk factors for heart disease and are disproportionately affected by the disease. More than 80 percent of midlife African American women are overweight or obese, 52 percent have hypertension, and 14 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes. Some 83 percent of midlife Hispanic women are overweight or obese, and more than 10 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes.

“As a woman, I’m excited to be part of a campaign that is raising awareness about our No. 1 killer, and to join such a talented group of designers and musicians in rocking the Red Dress runway,” said Grammy-nominated artist Amerie at her Tommy Hilfiger Red Dress fitting for The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection.

The Red Dress Collection Fashion Show draws an audience of more than 1,000 people, including fashionistas and prestigious front row personalities. The Red Dress Collection 2006 Fashion Show features red dresses created exclusively for The Heart Truth to remind women of their No. 1 health threat. Modeling these original designs will be more than 20 celebrated female musical artists including: Amerie, Bebe Neuwirth, Cheryl Bentyne, Christina Milian, Deborah Harry, Eartha Kitt, Emmylou Harris, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, JoJo, Jossie Perez, LeAnn Rimes, Lee Ann Womack, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Phillips, Natasha Bedingfield, Nelly Furtado, Sheryl Crow, Thalía, and Yolanda Adams, among others.

Participating designers in the 2006 Collection include: Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Carmen Marc Valvo, Daniel Swarovski, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Esteban Cortazar, Kenneth Cole, Kai Milla, Luca Luca, Max Azria Atelier, Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriguez, Nicole Miller, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Richard Tyler, Sean by Sean Combs, Tommy Hilfiger, Tracy Reese, Vera Wang, and Zac Posen.

“Today, a red dress is more than a fashion statement — it’s a statement of unity, strength, and good heart health. American women are embracing this national symbol and proving that nothing is sexier than being healthy,” said designer Tommy Hilfiger who has contributed to the Red Dress Collection for the past four years. “I’m proud to be part of this groundbreaking effort to educate and empower women.”

The Heart Truth partners include: The Office on Women’s Health, Department of Health and Human Services; the American Heart Association; WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease (the nation’s only patient advocacy organization representing the 8,000,000 American women living with heart disease), and other organizations committed to the health and well-being of women.

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Friday Feb. 3, 2006, 8:30-8:45 PM (ET)
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Saturday Feb. 4, 2006, 3:00-3:15 PM (ET)
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Please Note: Participants in The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection 2006 Fashion Show were confirmed at time of release.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation’s Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit


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