Health and Healthcare Systems

Heart disease is still the world’s biggest killer. The power to change this is in our hands

A worker displays a heart-shaped praline for Valentine's Day at a Wittamer chocolate boutique in Brussels February 14, 2012.

World Heart Day is our chance to urge more people across the globe to improve their heart health. Image: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Jean-Luc Eiselé
CEO, World Heart Federation
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There's a song by Peter Gabriel called The Power of Your Heart, and it fits perfectly with our theme for this year's World Heart Day. On 29 September, we're urging people to take action by sharing the power. It's about the power we all have in us to inspire each other - our families, and friends, our local communities - to make just those few small changes in our lives that can make a really powerful difference to our heart health.

The World Heart Federation (WHF) created World Heart Day in 2009, and it grows stronger and stronger. Year after year we're amazed at the commitment and creativity of WHF members and partners, and individuals and organizations around the world as they support our campaign. From schools and universities, to government departments, hospitals, private corporates and the media ... people in every corner of the world are organizing everything from walks, runs and sporting events, to concerts, public talks and screenings, as well as sharing their support on social media.

This year we're also delighted that more iconic buildings, landmarks and monuments across the world are lighting up red in support of our mission than ever before. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Table Mountain in South Africa, the Nasdaq screen in New York, the Singapore Flyer, the Auckland Sky Tower in New Zealand, Avala Tower in Serbia, Angel de la Reforma in Mexico City, Jet d'Eau in Geneva, Switzerland, the home of the World Heart Federation, and many others ... all turning red and providing a powerful visual symbol for World Heart Day.

The number one global killer

The serious aim of World Heart Day is to help fight against the rising number of people with cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the leading cause of death and disability in the world, killing 17.7 million people a year. That's a third of all deaths on the planet and half of all non-communicable-disease-related deaths. Around 80% of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries where human and financial resources are least able to address the CVD burden.

World Heart Day is our chance to bring people together to tackle the world’s biggest killer and urge more people across the globe to improve their heart health. The power to change really is in our hands. Making lifestyle changes such as eating more fruit and vegetables, keeping active and stopping smoking can save millions of lives.

Together we can reduce the burden of heart disease and stroke ... by sharing the power of our hearts, we can help people everywhere to live longer, better, more-heart-healthy lives.

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