A group of dedicated Santa Barbara residents sported red on Friday afternoon to show their support for women with heart disease as part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.

Approximately 50 women wearing red and a handful of local politicians congregated in front of the Santa Barbara Administration building to caution onlookers about heart disease, which kills more women nationally than any other disease, said Karen Shiffman, the Go Red for Women campaign chair. After stressing the need to better women’s healthcare in the U.S., speakers led a march through downtown Santa Barbara’s streets.

“Coronary heart disease is the number one killer of women today,” Shiffman said. “It kills more women than the next five killers combined.”

Go Red for Women is a nationwide campaign, and demonstrations like the one on Friday have taken place around the country since 2004. In addition to the red apparel, supporters of the campaign typically wear pins in the shape of red dresses as an easily identifiable symbol.

The campaign encourages women to eat healthy foods, exercise more and know their “numbers,” such as cholesterol level and blood pressure. Tips and more information can be found at www.goredforwomen.org.

As well as catching the attention of Santa Barbara citizens, the women in red want to communicate with the public nationally, Shiffman said. Their local “walk and talk” was designed to educate the public and win support for their cause, Shiffman said.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava attended the walk to support women’s health and the need for better healthcare.

“Today, women are less likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease,” Nava said. “We want to give women the fair access to healthcare they deserve.”

Friday’s march was not a fundraiser, as members were quick to point out; however, a luncheon fundraiser will be held on May 18.

Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf also attended, and acknowledged the need for more health education among women.

“Women have to make the next step,” Wolf said. “Women need to get checked up more often; they can’t just stay home and pass it off.”