For decades, February has been known for one of the most romantic holidays of the year—Valentine’s Day. More recently, however, this holiday that celebrates matters of the heart has sparked a month-long focus on much more than what the heart is feeling. February has become Heart Health Month as millions of people also focus on how their hearts are working.
The impetus behind this designation may be traced back to 2003, the year the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute announced National Wear Red Day. This heart-healthy “holiday” was created to draw attention to heart disease. In 2010, the Wear Red for Women movement began as a way to shine the spotlight even more clearly on women. At the time, heart disease was claiming the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year.
Of course, both men and women are affected by heart disease—it’s the leading cause of death for both men and women—but women seemed to be paying less attention. However, in the past decade, since the idea of wearing red on a certain day (traditionally the first Friday in February) and talking more about heart disease began, women report increased awareness and better heart health!
Studies show the following:
- Nearly 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change
- More than one-third of women have lost weight
- More than 50% of women have increased their exercise
- 6 out of 10 women have changed their diets
- More than 40% of women have checked their cholesterol levels
- One-third of women have talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans
- Nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day
- Death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.
While heart disease is still the number-one killer in the country, it’s also one of the most preventable. Heart Health Month becomes the perfect excuse to take a closer look at what you can do to make sure your heart is a healthy as it can be.
Of course, there are the obvious things. Eating healthy, exercising, and maintaining a reasonable weight are common-sense choices that should top your health to-do list. Other things you may want to think about doing include gathering your family health history, identifying your risk factors for heart disease, scheduling regular check-ups, and working with your doctor to ensure you’re as healthy as possible.
We invite you to join us this month as we focus on heart health. We’ll be wearing red this Friday (February 3)—we hope you do too! Our February Product of the Month—Nutricardia—is also designed to support heart health. Let’s make this month about how our hearts are feeling—and working!