Hard Hats with Heart: 2024 Southern New England Event shines light on heart disease, stroke prevalence in construction industry


PROVIDENCE (April 18th, 2024) – The American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives for all, is teaming up with Southern New England construction companies on Sept. 9 to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke, which disproportionately affect those working in the construction sector.

The annual networking event will take place Sep. 9th, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at The Crowne Plaza, 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick, RI. Attendees will hear from industry leaders, speakers from the American Heart Association, and learn about company wellness initiatives.

Hard Hats with Heart is an industry-specific initiative from the American Heart Association dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of those working within Rhode Island’s construction industry. The campaign’s focus is to integrate health, well-being, and prevention solutions into industry culture.

“It’s no secret that industrial careers are hard work,” said Gretta Jacobs, Development Director at American Heart Association. “They are physically and mentally demanding, requiring early start times, strenuous activity and often, eating what’s on hand rather than what’s healthy. It’s time for all of us to prioritize a healthier and more efficient workforce.”

In the U.S., construction workers have a higher risk to developing cardiovascular disease. Long hours, high stress, poor nutrition, high tobacco use, and the lack of heart-strengthening exercise are among the biggest culprits. In fact, 343,000 construction workers (1 in 25) have already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease[1].

That’s why the American Heart Association is working with leaders in the construction industry on Hard Hats with Heart, to engage construction workers nationwide and inspire them to live longer, healthier lives. Overall, prioritizing cardiovascular health in the workplace can lead to a safer, healthier, and more productive workforce.

The statistics are alarming:

  • 1 out of 4 construction workers are obese, which increases a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.[2]
  • 1 out of 3 construction workers use tobacco. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.[3] [4]
  • Nearly half of all construction workers don’t get enough exercise.[5] Lack of activity is a key risk factor for both heart disease and stroke.[6]
  • 1 out of 25 construction workers have diabetes.[7] Diabetes increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular diseases.

To help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, employers can implement initiatives such as providing healthy food options, promoting physical activity during breaks, implementing stress-reducing programs and providing CPR education and training.  Hard Hats with Heart educates employees about the signs, risks and ways to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol.

For more information about the Southern New England Hard Hats with Heart initiative, visit www.heart.org/snehardhats.


About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 – our Centennial year – we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries:

For Local Inquiries: Samantha A. Bowen |   Samantha.Bowen@heart.org


[1] https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Niosh-whc/chart/brfss-chronic?OU=CVD&T=O&V=R2




[5] https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Niosh-whc/chart/nhis-behavior/behavior?OU=SM_HP_22&T=I&V=R

[6] https://newsroom.heart.org/news/nearly-half-of-all-u-s-adults-have-some-form-of-cardiovascular-disease

[7] https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Niosh-whc/chart/nhis-behavior/behavior?OU=OBESE&T=I&V=R