World Heart Day
When is World Heart Day?
World Heart Day is a holiday dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular health. Held every last Sunday in September, World Heart Day 2013 will be recognized on September 29th. This is an opportunity for people around the world to educate themselves and others about heart diseases, which are the number one cause of premature death globally.
Understanding Heart Health
Obesity continues to rise in industrialized nations, so it’s no wonder that heart health is a growing concern. Poor eating habits coupled with a sedentary lifestyle can decrease the blood-pumping skills of the heart, and even block the arteries. Short-term problems can include lack of blood oxygen and nutrient flow. Over the long-term, poor health can cause heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says that heart disease is the most common cause of death for people in the United States. At the same time, cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of disabilities in U.S. patients. Women are at a higher risk of fatalities related to heart problems, although both genders are vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.
At the same time, heart disease kills more people globally than any other health problem. Heart disease is common with obesity, but you don’t have to be overweight to have cardiovascular problems. Limited access to nutrient dense foods and adequate healthcare are leading contributors worldwide. Other common risk factors can include smoking and high blood pressure (hypertension).
The World Heart Federation established World Heart Day in recognition of the daunting global statistics surrounding cardiovascular health. Formerly known as the International Society and Federation of Cardiology, the World Heart Federation is a non-government organization in Switzerland. Originally established in the 1940s, the organization officially switched its name in 1998 the World Heart Federation. The new name was easier for people to remember, and officials hoped it would make finding heart health resources that much easier.
A new name also meant a new global heart health initiative. The very first World Heart Day was celebrated on September 26, 1999. With a purpose for heart health education, the holiday has been observed ever since. The United Nations works with the World Heart Federation each year to ensure success.
Celebrating Good Heart Health
While World Heart Day isn’t a public holiday, the information circulated on this day is vital to public health. Many people decide to kick-start heart-healthy habits on the holiday, such as quitting smoking, eating healthily, and exercising more. Some patients are born with heart problems, which makes access to healthcare even more vital. In most cases, however, heart disease stems from poor health habits built up overtime. The primary aim of World Heart Day is to make sure you know all of the risk factors of cardiovascular disease, as well as ways to adopt better permanent lifestyle habits.
The World Heart Federation works hard to develop and execute a new campaign for each Heart Day. New brochures and leaflets are given out to the public, and the organization’s website has numerous tools for people of all ages to utilize. For 2013, the Federation’s focus is on women and children. Women are at the highest risk for heart disease, and children are at an increased risk as many don’t lead the active lifestyles of generations past. By focusing on these issues today, World Heart Day can help increase the livelihoods of many communities for a better tomorrow.
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