Canada Wears Red for Women's Heart Health Thursday, February 13th

Heart disease is the number one killer of women worldwide, yet women are often understudied, undertreated, and underdiagnosed

Ottawa - Canadians from coast to coast to coast will wear red today in observation of Wear Red Canada, a national awareness campaign initiated by the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance (the “Alliance”) to bring attention to women’s cardiovascular health issues. The Alliance is a network of cardiovascular health experts and advocates and is powered by the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC) at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI).

On the CWHHC’s website, the Alliance is calling on all Canadians to participate in this year’s campaign:

  • Wear red clothing on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
  • Share messages about women’s heart health with friends, colleagues, and family.
  • Post photos of yourself with your friends, group or organization dressed in red clothing to social media using the hashtag #HerHeartMatters.

“When it comes to improving the cardiovascular health of Canadian women, awareness is key,” said Dr. Thais Coutinho, a cardiologist and Division Head of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation at the UOHI, and Chair of the CWHHC and the Alliance’s Executive Steering Committee. “By wearing red on February 13, you are taking part in a movement to engage Canadian communities in a meaningful conversation about women’s heart health.”

Several Wear Red Canada events have been organized in communities across the country. A schedule of events is available online.

“There is no better time than now to advocate for the health of women’s hearts,” said Dr. Tara Sedlak, a cardiologist at Vancouver General Hospital and Chair of the Alliance’s Advocacy Working Group. “I call on everyone across the country, women and men, to participate in Wear Red Canada activities designed to generate new interest in and improve our understanding of women’s cardiovascular health.”

Key Women’s Heart Health Messages

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women worldwide, and the leading cause of premature death for women in Canada. 
  • Heart attack symptoms go unrecognized in 53% of women. Women don’t always have the “Hollywood Heart Attack,” characterized by chest-clutching pain. Learn the signs of a heart attack and know when to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
  • Some conditions put women at higher risk for heart disease. Pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, and premature menopause are some of the risks factors that are specific to women’s hearts.
  • Heart disease is largely preventable. Eighty per cent of risk factors are within your control to change. Don’t smoke, make sure you eat a healthy diet and exercise, know your numbers for waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, and take precautions to reduce your risk.

For more information about the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance, women’s heart health resources, 2020 Wear Red Canada campaign events, and ways to get involved, please visit:   

About the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance

The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance is a volunteer organization of over 55 health professionals and patients that was established to improve women’s cardiovascular health across the lifespan. Patients, clinicians, researchers and decision makers work collaboratively to move knowledge to action, to transform clinical practice, and to impact public policy. Ongoing coordination of the Alliance is provided by the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

About the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre

The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre is dedicated to sparking the social change needed to close the gaps and ensure women are as well-informed and well-cared for as men. Our vision is to provide leadership in the development, implementation and evaluation of cardiovascular prevention and management strategies to improve women’s heart health. Our goal is to improve the prevention, detection, and management of heart disease in Canadian women.

About the University of Ottawa Heart Institute

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute has flourished into one of Canada’s most distinguished heart health centres for the unparalleled care it provides to its patients, a world-renowned research institute that brings science from bench to bedside, and the country’s main influencer when it comes to preventing heart disease. Its promise remains the very pillar on which it was built: Always putting patients first.

Media contact

Leigh B. Morris
Communications Officer
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
613-696-7000 ext. 19051 (office)
613-316-6409 (cell.)