World Heart Day is celebrated on the 29th September each year. The day focuses on what measures can be taken to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD), which kills 17.5 million people every year – approximately a third of all deaths globally. By 2030, this figure is expected to rise to 23 million.
‘Cardiovascular disease’ is a term which describes all diseases relating to the heart and circulation. It includes everything from conditions that are diagnosed at birth to conditions developed later in life such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.
The World Heart Day initiative was founded in 2000 by the World Heart Federation as a platform for raising awareness of CVD. The day seeks to promote ways to keep hearts healthy such as exercising regularly, eating and drinking well, and stopping heart-damaging habits such as smoking.
The World Heart Federation wants everyone to make a heart promise this September – a promise to look after your heart and those of the people you care about. There are a number of ways you can do this, from making improvements to your diet to taking part in regular physical activity.
Top tips to keep your heart healthy:
- Try to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day (fresh, tinned or frozen all count towards this)
- Choose unsweetened beverages and water instead of sugary drinks
- Limit the consumption of processed and pre-packaged food which can be high in fat, salt and sugar
- Walk and cycle short distances rather than taking the car
- Aim to do 30 minutes of moderate activity, 5 times per week – walking, housework and dancing all count
- Take the stairs instead of using a lift or escalator
- Track your progress using a pedometer or exercise app on your phone
Initiatives you can take within your setting:
- Teach the children about how their heart works. Help them locate where the heart is in their bodies, then explain what it does and how to keep hearts healthy
- Let children listen to their hearts through a stethoscope before and after an exercise activity to hear how different they sound
- Look at the different foods which help hearts stay strong such as spinach, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, broccoli and fish like tuna
- Hold a fundraising day to raise money for a relevant charity such as the British Heart Foundation. This will help fund important research to help treat heart and circulatory diseases in the future
Want to get involved with promoting awareness of heart health for World Heart Day 2018? Find out more and download the free resources available from www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day