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Active Living by Design


Raising Awareness About Our #1 Killer
National Women's Heart Week February 1-7 is an outreach program that combines fun, free activities with heart health screenings. By partnering with local organizations, we can help women come together and encourage fitness, promote stress reduction activities and learn about heart-healthy eating and gender-specifics on women's heart disease. The 7 focus days of Women's Heart Week promote prevention, education, symptoms awareness and early intervention.

An Important Message for Women:
Heart Disease is the number one killer of American women. Recognizing symptoms and risks, making lifestyle changes and getting timely care can save a woman's life. Women's Heart Week is a national outreach campaign aimed at improving women's outcomes from this deadly disease. Heart disease is America’s leading killer of women over the age of 34. Most women are not aware of this fact and fail to recognize their own risk factors for heart disease. Women’s symptoms, especially those that are milder, often go ignored. Women often miss out on critical opportunites to save their own lives. Women's Heart Foundation (WHF) recognizes that women are busier than ever as they juggle career, family and care-giving responsibilities. For many, each day resembles a jig–saw puzzle in which a woman is required to piece together her time and obligations. Now, more than ever, women need to take time out for themselves and be given a reminder: Take Care of Your Heart.

To Healthcare Providers:
WHF is always looking for new health partners to implement its programs and is proud to welcome Curves® for Women, Slim & Tone, Slender Lady, Shapes USA and other women's fitness clubs as new participants for this outreach. WHF provides collateral materials with bookmarks, promotional gifts and a woman's health tracker card. WHF also provides a sample heart risk screening tool for free download. This screening tool with procedure for follow-up has been piloted by a leading healthcare institution. Although the tool is copyrighted, WHF conveys free use of the material, so long as acknowledgement is provide the author: The Women's Heart Foundation. This tool may be modified and revised in accordance with your individual institution's guidelines and WHF accepts no responsibity for the reliability of the screening tool.

Your target audience is women of all ages seeking better heart health care for themselves and their families. Let us hear from you by January 1 so we can post your event on our website. And please send us a report about the outcome of your event(s).

Focus Days
The WHF urges hospitals across the country to open their doors to women during National Women's Heart Week to offer free heart screenings and healthy lifestyle counseling, starting February 1 - National Women's Heart Wellness Day, and to combine these screenings with other heart health activities for the entire family so that a woman will be able to participate without feeling conflicted about the amount of time spent away from home.

Follow the 7 Focus Days of Women's Heart Week as a guide for holding a successful outreach event with vendors and activities all coming together for promotion of women's heart health. The Focus Day topics represent a holisitic approach to women's heart wellness and awareness and include

  • Feb 1: Risk and Symptoms Awareness

  • Feb 2: Exercise and Fitness

  • Feb 3: Nutrition and Supplements

  • Feb 4: Holistic Health and Stress Management

  • Feb 5: Medication Safety

  • Feb 6: Health Care Self-Management

  • Feb 7: Positive Self-Image

Sixteen hospital partners in New Jersey implemented some form of the Women's Heart Week program in 2004, and this number continues to grow. In 2005, WHF partnered with the St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center and the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ for a Saturday program exposing 40,000 shoppers to a critical health message with 360 women receiving heart risk screenings by hospital nursing personnel.

Statistics on Overweight Adults and Children and Reported Activity Levels
Less than one-third (31.8 percent) of U.S. adults get regular leisure-time physical activity (defined as light or moderate activity five times or more per week for 30 minutes or more each time and/or vigorous activity three times or more per week for 20 minutes or more each time). About 10 percent of adults do no physical activity at all in their leisure time.[1]

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight (BMI > 25, which includes those who are obese).[7] All adults (20+ years old): 129.6 million (64.5 percent) Women (20+ years old): 64.5 million (61.9 percent) Men (20+ years old): 65.1 million (67.2 percent) Nearly one-third of U.S. adults are obese (BMI > 30). All adults (20+ years old): 61.3 million (30.5 percent) Women (20+ years old): 34.7 million (33.4 percent) Men (20+ years old): 26.6 million (27.5 percent)[2]

About 25 percent of young people (ages 1221 years) participate in light to moderate activity (e.g., walking, bicycling) nearly every day. About 50 percent regularly engage in vigorous physical activity. Approximately 25 percent report no vigorous physical activity, and 14 percent report no recent vigorous or light to moderate physical activity.[3]

Interestingly, according to disease reports from the New York Department of Health and the 2004 Women's Heart Day program in Manhattan, while diabetes rates are soaring around the country, the incidence of diabetes in lower Manhattan is going down. Why? The average New Yorker walks four miles a day! What better evidence to support the launch of a 10,000 steps campaign in every community?

[1] Barnes MA, Schoenborn CA. Physical activity among adults: United States, 2000. National Center for Health Statistics. Advance Data. 2003;(333).
[2] Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Johnson CL. Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2000. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2002;288:1723-1727.
[3] U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services. Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1996.



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1999-2000; updates: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Women's Heart Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited. The information contained in this Women's Heart Foundation (WHF) Web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and WHF recommends consultation with your doctor or health care professional.