Today, February 6, 2009 is National Heart Day, colloquially known as wear red day. The call to wear red was issued by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to raise awareness of women’s heart disease. Because women’s heart disease symptoms are often more subtle than those of men, wear red day aims to educate the public to identify women’s heart disease symptoms.
The AHA offers some alarming statistics about women and heart disease in support of wear red day, including:
– women are 52% more likely than men to experience delays in getting treatment after calling 911 and reporting cardiac symptoms; and,
– women are more likely than men to die from severe heart attacks once in the hospital.
When I read this morning that today was wear red day, I recalled a conversation with my sister many years ago. At that time, a friend had asked her to place a white ribbon on her car to support a cause that did not particularly appeal to her. Despite her lukewarm interest in the cause, my sister agreed to place the white ribbon on her car. She told me that there are so many ribbon campaigns, no one will know what it stands for anyway.
Recalling that conversation got me to wondering what other causes might be prompting people to wear red besides national wear red day.
The wear red on Fridays movement, which may have been modeled on a Canadian initiative to support the Canadian military, will surely leave some folks confused about today’s wear red day, being that today is Friday. The wear red on Fridays movement is an internet based effort that encourages wearing red on Fridays to support troops overseas.
Surf Safe wear red day was started two years ago after the movie Hard Candy drew attention to internet safety issues. For this wear red movement, people were encouraged to wear red hoodies to stand up for internet safety and against internet violence.
As to the power of the color red. Reuters reported in October that men take notice and are more sexually attracted to women when they are wearing red or when their photos are presented in a red frame. Not only do men see women are more sexually attractive when they wear red, they perceive the color red as a come-on, a clue to the women’s sexual intentions. Wonder if the AHA and NHLBI would have chosen the color red had this study been publicized before wear red day got its start in 2002.
Sources: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov//educational/hearttruth/materials/wear-red-toolkit.htm; http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/r/redfridays.htm; http://www.wear-red.com/; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27417084/; http://www.miller-mccune.com/article/wear-red-knock-em-dead; http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=1200000.