Most people know at least one person, whether it’s a friend, family member, or acquaintance, who experienced a cardiovascular health problem like a heart attack or stroke. Across the globe, the leading cause of non-communicable disease (NCD) is cardiovascular disease (CVD). These types of diseases take a heartbreaking 17.9 million lives each year.
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World Heart Day is a way to raise awareness about CVD. It helps those struggling with cardiovascular health find the care they need, and it educates the community about how to best control risk factors. Through World Heart Day, people all over the world gain empowerment about their own health.
Heart health has never been more important, so learn more about World Heart Day and how to celebrate with this guide.
When is World Heart Day?
World Heart Day is a yearly event that takes place every year on September 29. Like most holidays, this date wasn’t an accident. The month of September is health-focused, home to a number of observances for things like ADHD, childhood obesity, and cancer awareness.
While it’s important to collectively stay aware of the rise of diseases and health concerns, it’s also essential to take the time to look at specific problems. Our health is the most important thing we have, especially our cardiovascular health.
Taking a day in September to be mindful of those currently struggling with their heart health as well as to consider our own risk factors brings big changes to the health community.
History and Guide to World Heart Day
Learning more about the significance and history of World Heart Day is the best way to understand its role in your life and your community. Explore what makes this occasion so special and how you can best get involved.
How it all got started
World Heart Day was first announced in 1999 through a partnership of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Heart Federation (WHF). The first celebration took place on September 24, 2000, but the date was later moved to the 29th.
This event is a way for a nongovernmental organization to sponsor, assemble, and distribute information about heart health. Though many people consider cardiovascular problems to be a problem associated only with developed countries, this is a global epidemic. The biggest takeaway of World Heart Day is that many cardiovascular diseases are preventable.
Because there’s so much that is possible when empowering people to take control of their own health, World Heart Day continues to be an educational event for the entire world. Alongside overall health awareness,
World Heart Day is a chance for information to reach not only developed countries that are most affected by these diseases, but also developing parts of the world in need of their own tools and resources.
How people celebrate
There are no limits to celebrate World Heart Day. The primary mission is to ensure heart health equality across the globe. Some of the activities associated with World Heart Day set by the World Heart Federation are:
- Promise to cook healthy foods for the entire family
- Remember to exercise regularly and to stay active
- A push for policy that promotes healthy hearts
- The spread of information about ways to reduce the risk of heart problems
- A reminder that heart health also starts in the workplace
There are a number of national and community events that highlight this cause. From local walks to healthy eating seminars, there’s so much to find if you’re hoping to take part in next year’s World Heart Day. We all have the ability to set a positive example not only for ourselves today but also for our future.
Activity Ideas for World Heart Day
There are so many ways to create your own World Heart Day celebration. Now that you know what this day is all about, you’re ready to start a movement in your friend group, family, or community. Try these ideas below to spread awareness amongst those you love.
Learn a heart-healthy recipe
One of the best ways to prevent heart problems is to eat a healthy diet. One of the top risk factors contributing to CVDs is the consumption of foods high in salt. Unfortunately, these are often a staple of the Standard American Diet.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up the foods that taste good to you. It’s just about practicing moderation and learning new ways to cook heart-healthy meals. Cook a delicious, healthy meal and share it with your friends and family.
Read about heart health
If you’re not familiar with the risks associated with cardiovascular diseases, there are easy ways to learn more.
Many healthcare books focus on how to keep your body and heart healthy for years to come. If you’re looking for a simple way to honor World Heart Day, pick up a book.
Honor the doctors in your community
Doctors and other medical professionals are the ones on the front lines of heart disease, strokes, and other medical emergencies.
They help us keep our bodies healthy from the start, and they’re there for us when things go wrong. Host or attend an event for the doctors in your community or consider any of these gifts for doctors or write your general practitioner a thank you note.
Do something active
If you keep your body active, you reduce your risk of developing a heart-related health problem. Staying active doesn’t mean you need to invest in a costly gym membership or start running marathons.
It might be as simple as joining a friend on an afternoon hike or doing a 5K in your community.
Create a workplace event
Heart health doesn’t always start at home. It also starts in the workplace. The average office environment isn’t always the best for your body. If you spend your days sitting at a desk, it might be time to create a workplace event in honor of World Heart Day.
Whether you host a group walk, healthy foods potluck, or a biometric screening clinic, all of these things matter for everyone’s wellness. Getting everyone involved shows the importance of investing in your future health.
Share your story
If you or someone you love is affected by cardiovascular disease, share your story. Sharing how these diseases have impacted your life or your loved one’s lives is an effective way to get the word out about heart health.
Share your narrative on social media, to your friends, or even at a local event.
Take Part in World Heart Day
World Heart Day is an initiative by the World Heart Federation to raise awareness about the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. While we can all take steps to decrease our risk of facing these issues, it’s still essential to educate yourself and loved ones about the reality of these health problems. By joining with others in our community, we have the power to save lives on World Health Day.
If there’s one thing World Heart Day teaches us, it’s that there are no guarantees of anything, not even our health. It’s up to us to treat our bodies with kindness and compassion to begin end-of-life planning. These steps don’t have to be complicated. They’re simply a way to continue living life to its fullest while preparing for the future no matter what it might bring.
- Rogers, Kara. “World Heart Day.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2014. Britannica.com.
- “Warning Signs.” Florida Health: Heart Disease. FloridaHealth.gov.
- “What is World Heart Day?” World Heart Federation. World-heart-federation.org.
- “World Heart Day.” World Health Organization: Cardiovascular Disease. WHO.int.