The human heart is one of the most important organs in the body. Our heartbeat sets the rhythm of our life and our ethereal “heart” is what impels us to care about ourselves and others. And, over time, the color red has come to be associated with many things related to the literal and proverbial heart.
It was in 2003 that the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association (AHA) and other organizations partnered to raise awareness about women and heart disease. The institute introduced the red dress as a national symbol, which was adopted by the AHA.
Heart disease consistently remains among the top causes of deaths in America and is a leading cause of deaths in women. The AHA, which funds research into cardiovascular diseases and stroke, has developed initiatives to raise awareness and support—all highlighted by bright red imaging—that include Heart Walks and Go Red for Women.
On September 25th, the Marion County Heart Walk took place at the Frank DeLuca YMCA in Ocala.
“It was a beautiful day and walkers joined us at 8am to walk the 1 or 3 mile route,” notes Julia Kelley, vice president of development for the American Heart Association. “Our Heart Walk raised $135,753.”
Upcoming events that highlight the color and the cause include National Wear Red Day on February 4th and the Go Red For Women Gala at the Circle Square Cultural Center in Ocala’s On Top of the World community on March 4th.
Go Red For Women is an AHA signature initiative designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally.
The AHA gauges cardiovascular health by tracking health factors and behaviors such as smoking, physical activity, diet, body weight and control of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Among females, the AHA reports, less than 44 percent of women, especially younger females, are aware that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death (LCOD); women are under-represented in research; only 19 percent of women meet physical activity guidelines, 66 percent are overweight/obese and 52 percent of high blood pressure deaths are in women; women make up nearly half of the workforce but there are less than 25 percent in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.
Targeted solutions through the Go Red For Women initiative include public awareness campaigns focused on LCOD, driving diversity through Research Goes Red, enrolling women in Go Red’s Coaching and Healthy Behavior programs and providing opportunities for girls to experience STEM.
To learn more about local activities, go to heart.org/en/aﬃliates/ﬂorida/marion-county or call (800) 257-6941, ext. 8107. For additional information, visit goredforwomen.org