Working Together to Raise Awareness of Leading Global Killer of Women: Cardiovascular Disease

At the American Heart Association, we are committed to building lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke not just in the United States, but worldwide. Today, at the 26th Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology in Beijing, I am happy to announce the American Heart Association has signed a licensing agreement with the China Heart Federation (CHF) to educate women in China about the their risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, through our Go Red For Women movement, which CHF will implement locally.

“This is an exciting opportunity to reach more women in China with this lifesaving message,” said Dayi Hu, M.D., president of China Heart Federation. “We’re making an impact already in heart health here, and we look forward to creating our own Go Red For Women movement to inspire and educate even more women that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death, and give them the tools to take action to change that,” Hu said.

While 80 percent of heart disease in women is preventable, cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke) kill more women globally than all cancers, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined, according to the World Heart Federation (WHF).

Only one in 10 Chinese women know that heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death among women in China, according to a 2010 survey from the WHF. The reality is that cardiovascular diseases cause one-third of all deaths in China, and that number is expected to double by 2020 due to an aging population, smoking and changes in diet and lifestyle.

With AHA’s permission, CHF was given a cultural allowance with respect to the logo and allowed to create a more suitable version for China. The Chinese phrase to the left of the dress means “treasure, value/priceless, love, women, heart” it roughly translates to “treasure the woman’s heart.”

“China consists of an immense population of patients with a high morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease,” said Mariell Jessup, M.D., a past president of AHA and medical director of the Penn Heart and Vascular Center in Philadelphia. “Working with China Heart Federation to improve the cardiovascular health of women is an important part of an overall approach.”

Since its creation in 2004, Go Red For Women has increased awareness that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women worldwide, educated women about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and illustrated how women can lead a more heart-healthy lifestyle. Additionally, Go Red For Women encourages women to share what they’ve learned about heart health with their loved ones.

The new collaboration is among the more than 50 global agreements made by the AHA in collaboration with the WHF. I am extremely proud that our past Global Strategies efforts have helped create additional opportunities for other AHA initiatives, such as Go Red, to help save more lives worldwide. We know CHF’s Go Red For Women movement will help empower women in China to lower their risks for cardiovascular disease.