ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Go Red for Women Luncheon returned to Albany’s Capital Center Tuesday, raising awareness about heart disease.

Hundreds of women attended the event to learn more about the causes of heart disease, stroke and how to better their mental and physical health.

“With proper nutrition, exercise, a lot of it is preventable and sometimes just taking those small steps can make a huge difference,” Kathy McCarthy, spokesperson for the American Heart Association, said. “Eat more vegetables, eat more fruit, look for more fiber, look for lean proteins and exercises.” 

Heart disease is considered the number one killer of women and McCarthy said the pandemic shed new light on the risks.

“The pandemic was tough. It isolated us, many of us put on a few extra pounds, it was not great for our mental health but now is a great time to focus on that and see what you can do to prevent it.” 

Tuesday’s program featured a speech by Kim Perone, highlighting how women can mitigate their stress and better their mental well-being.

“What we can do mentally, mastering a mindset for our peace, our grounded-ness, our centered-ness in any situation is key to how we are embodying that stress,” Perone said.

Graduates of the American Heart Association’s BetterU program were honored for participating in a 12-week wellness program focused on improving diet, exercise and building a community of women who are educated in heart health.

“After we did our training on Tuesday, for half an hour we would sit in a circle and it was calming and relaxing to know there was always someone to give us encouraging words and we were able to share what the week meant to us, what we did,” Vernessa Mitchell, participant, said.

All the funds raised from the luncheon go towards cardiovascular health research.