People across the country will don red clothes Friday to draw attention to heart disease, the No. 1 killer of American women and men.
Friday marks the 10-year anniversary of National Wear Red Day, and it is the first day of American Heart Month, said Diane Kemp, executive director of the American Heart Association of Northwest Indiana.
Heart disease affects more women than men, and is deadlier than all forms of cancer combined.
"Every 60 seconds, a woman drops dead from heart disease," Kemp said. "That has to change."
The heart association has celebrated February as American Heart Month since 1963. February is also the signature month for the heart association's Go Red for Women campaign, which draws attention to heart disease in women.
In all, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. It is the cause of one in three women's deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association.
"It's the No. 1 killer of women aged 25 and older," Kemp said. "This is not an old woman's disease."
Since the Go Red for Women movement began, more than 627,000 women’s lives have been saved, and 330 fewer women are dying per day, statistics show.
Women following the Go Red movement report making healthier behavior choices and losing weight. More than half increased their amount of exercise, and 60 percent have changed their diets, according to the association.
The American Heart Association will host Valpo Goes Red at 8 a.m. Friday at Valparaiso University’s Harre Hall. The event will feature a keynote speaker, vendor booths and breakfast from the Go Red for Women cookbook.
Strack and Van Til is hosting a fundraising campaign at its stores between today and Feb. 13 to benefit women's heart health.
The heart association will host a Gary Goes Red for Women event May 10 at Marquette Park, and the Go Red for Women Education Symposium will take place May 16 at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville.
Local events are presented by Methodist Hospitals.
For more information, visit www.heart.org or www.goredforwomen.org.