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Go Red Hosts First Women in Media Event


by Nora Bass

Co-hosts Nancy Brown and Arianna Huffington lead discussion on women’s heart health

On the last day of  American Heart Month, Go Red For Women hosted a luncheon in New York City for some of the most influential women in media to discuss women’s No. 1 killer — heart disease. Moderated by the American Heart Association’s CEO, Nancy Brown and Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group, the Women in Media Luncheon offered the opportunity to discuss how women can band together to overcome heart disease, including the inequities that women face in heart disease research, diagnosis and treatment.

An exclusive invitation list of 10 women in media was in attendance, including key change-makers in the industry who can encourage positive change nationwide. Guests included Nancy Snyderman, Chief Medical Editor, NBC’s TODAY Show; Erica Hill, Co-Host, NBC’s Weekend TODAY; Ami Schmitz, Health & Medicine Producer, TODAY Show; Rebecca Jarvis, Anchor, CBS This Morning Saturday and Business & Economics Correspondent, CBS News; Olivia Andrzejczak, Associate Producer, CBS News; Susan Spencer, Editor-In-Chief, Woman’s Day magazine; Stefanie Ilgenfritz, Bureau Chief and Health Editor, Wall Street Journal; Agapi Stassinopoulos, Author; Siobhan O’Connor, Executive Editor, Prevention magazine; Damarys Ocaña, Executive Editor, Latina magazine; and Vanessa Bush, Acting Managing Editor, Essence magazine.

For 10 years, women have been fighting heart disease individually and together. More than 627,000 women’s lives have been saved in that time and 330 fewer women die each day, but the fight is far from over. During the Women in Media Luncheon, Nancy reflected on the advances in the fight against heart disease in women and highlighted focus areas for further progress.

Discussion highlights included inequities that persist in heart disease research, diagnosis and treatment, and the resulting gaps in awareness, relevance and action among women:

  • Women comprise only 24 percent of participants in all heart-related studies.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen.
  • Women lack awareness of their risk factors, as well as women’s symptoms of a heart attack
  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, yet only one in five American women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
  • Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined.
  • Women are less likely to call 9-1-1 for themselves when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack than they are if someone else is having a heart attack.

To address these issues, attendees discussed critical topics impacting women and heart disease today, including lifestyle trends, technology, healthcare and the role of the media.

Key takeaways from the luncheon on how women can improve their heart health included:

  • Women should know their blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol.
  • It’s important for women to focus on incremental lifestyle changes in order to improve their overall health.
  • Remember to take time for yourself, and incorporate physical activity into your schedule.

Also discussed were ways the American Heart Association, Go Red For Women and women in media can work together to increase awareness and encourage action among women by:

  • Reframing corporate advocacy and creating wellness metrics to ensure women’s health and wellness is a business priority
  • Increasing women-focused research, as well as culturally- and age-sensitive messages to broaden heart disease awareness, prevention and treatment
  • Continuing the dialogue in media around healthy lifestyles and work-life integration in order to reach more women and help provide the resources necessary to live a long and healthy life

Finally, the recent release of the Women’s Awareness Tracking Study also shows Go Red’s traction, as well as the need for increased awareness around heart disease, finding that:

  • Women’s awareness of heart disease as the leading cause of death has nearly doubled in 15 years
  • Awareness rates among black and Hispanic women remain well below that of white women.
  • Among age groups, women 25-34 years had the lowest rate of awareness at 44 percent.

Learn ways to live healthy and more about how to prevent heart disease on Go Red For Women’s website.