First Lady Glenna Fletcher's Communications Office
First Lady Glenna Fletcher Encourages Kentuckians to "Go Red for Women"

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, January 31, 2007  
Contact Information:  Dan Bayens

Observance raises heart disease awareness, kicks off Kentucky Heart Health Month

FRANKFORT, Ky. – First Lady Glenna Fletcher is encouraging Kentuckians to show support for women and the fight against heart disease by wearing red on “Go Red for Women Day,” Friday, February 2.  The observance also kicks off Kentucky Heart Health Month, dedicated to raising awareness and promoting healthier lifestyles to reduce the risks of heart disease.

“The Go Red for Women awareness campaign is a great opportunity for us all to recognize that healthy lifestyles can create stronger, longer lives,” Mrs. Fletcher said.  “Studies show that exercise, a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are all components of eliminating heart disease.  Let’s become familiar with our options.  Good health and wellness are important for individuals of any age.  It is never too late or too early to make improvements in your lifestyle.”

The American Heart Association instituted Go Red for Women in 2004 as a national awareness campaign focusing on heart disease, the leading killer of women age 25 and older in the United States.  Governor Ernie Fletcher has proclaimed February “Kentucky Heart Health Month” to coincide with the presidential proclamation of American Heart Month.

“Go Red for Women Day and Kentucky Heart Health Month are intended to make Kentuckians aware that heart disease is a serious health threat that can often be prevented through proper diet and exercise,” said Governor Fletcher.  “Prevention begins with awareness.  By raising awareness and encouraging healthy lifestyles, a real difference can be made in the lives of women across Kentucky.”

The Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort will make a fashion statement of its own in recognition of the Go Red for Women campaign.  During the first week of February, the mansion will be illuminated in red to raise awareness of heart disease among women, joining other landmarks across the country, including the Empire State Building, Graceland and Niagara Falls. The Floral Clock on the state capitol grounds also will feature a Go Red for Women motif during February.

One woman in the United States dies every minute from diseases of the heart and blood vessels, collectively called cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD, including stroke, claims more lives nationwide than the next four leading causes of death combined.

Women’s symptoms of heart disease can differ from those men experience. Women may have heart disease without knowing it, while men often experience arm and chest pain, shortness of breath and other symptoms of CVD. More than 60 percent of women who die suddenly of heart disease have no prior symptoms. Heart disease rates can triple for women after menopause, regardless of age.

Heart disease accounted for 23 percent of all deaths in Kentucky in 2003, but the state experienced a 9 percent drop in deaths from heart disease between 2000 and 2003. Among all 50 states, Kentucky has the fifth highest rate of total heart disease deaths in the nation. Kentucky has the sixth highest rate of heart disease deaths among women and the fourth highest rate among men.

Risk factors for heart disease are common in Kentucky. According to data for 2005 (the most recent year for which complete statistics are available):

  • Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation for adults reporting no or very low levels of regular physical activity. Almost 32 percent, or one in three adults, reported no physical activity in a one-month survey period.
  • Kentucky leads the nation in smoking. Nearly 29 percent of adult Kentuckians smoke.
  • Only three states have fewer adults who get the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables in their diets.
  • One of every four adult Kentuckians is obese.
  • Kentucky ranks eighth for diabetes. Nearly 9 percent of the adult population in Kentucky has diabetes and as many as one-third are undiagnosed.

Kentucky’s observances of Go Red for Women Day and Kentucky Heart Health Month are part of Governor Fletcher’s Get Healthy Kentucky initiative to reduce the incidence and severity of chronic disease and promote overall health improvement among Kentuckians.  For information on the initiative, including diet and physical activity tips, visit the Get Healthy Kentucky Web site at

For more information about National Go Red for Women Day, visit the Web site at  For more information about heart disease, contact the American Heart Association at (888) MY-HEART or visit the Web site at