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From the heart

Cardiovascular disease is the single biggest killer of women in the UK – causing one in three deaths. In the North West, women between 45 and 75 are most at risk. But they’re so busy raising families or looking after relatives that their own heart health is the last thing on their minds. That’s why we teamed up with Pfizer and the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital to launch a CVD awareness campaign, with the goal of helping these women to realise the severity of the issue and take simple steps to improve their heart health.

We found that one of the only places the target audience took a break from their hectic lives was in the hair salon. So we used hairdressers in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley to raise the conversation with their clients and share the materials we developed, which featured heartfelt messages from family members, showing how important it is to keep an eye on your heart health.

This grassroots campaign approach proved very effective. It increased concern by 8% to 53%, and heightened understanding of risk factors: 57% smoking (up 12%), 43% poor diet (up 19%). Propensity to make lifestyle changes also increased, with 25% more women saying they would change to a healthier lifestyle if they felt at risk of heart disease, and another 19% stating they would give up smoking. Evidence of behaviour change was evident in the year following the campaign launch, with CVD mortality rates decreasing in all three target areas: from 95 per 100,000 population to 89 per 100,000 in Liverpool; from 72 to 64 per 100,000 in Sefton; and from 87 to 86 per 100,000 in Knowsley.