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World Heart Day

January 14th, 2011

Your heart

World Heart DayTODAY is World Heart Day. It was created to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death.

According to the World Heart Federation, each year 17.1 million people die of cardiovascular disease with 80% of the number in the developing world.The World Heart Federation, together with its members spreads the news that at lest 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors – tobacco, an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are controlled.

Ten years after the first World Heart Day in September 2000, the World Heart Federation is celebrating progress in our health.

In this 10-year milestone, the World Heart Federation is urging governments, healthcare professionals, employers and individuals to reduce the occurrence of heart disease and stroke.

This year’s theme is “Workplace Wellness” and its aim is to promote the workplace as the ideal setting to adopt healthy behaviours to prevent heart disease and stroke. To ensure sustained change, The World Heart Federation is targeting the workplace to promote healthy heart messages.

The Workplace Wellness initiative aims to use the workplace to promote long-term behavioural changes that will benefit employers, employees and communities.


World Heart Day calls on individuals to take their first 10 steps to Heart Health:

1.     Healthy food intake

~ Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and avoid saturated fat. Beware of processed foods, which often contain high level of salt.

2.     Get active and take heart

~ Even 30 minutes of activity can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes and your work will benefit too.

3.     Say no to tobacco

~ Your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time.

4.     Maintain a healthy weight

~ Weight loss, especially together with lowered salt intake, leads to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart diseases and strokes.

5.     Know your number

~ Visit a healthcare professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, together with waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index. Once you know your overall risk, you can develop a specific plan of action to improve your heart health.

6.     Limit your alcohol intake

~ Restrict the amount of alcoholic drinks that you consume. Excessive intake of alcohol can cause your blood pressure to rise and your weight to increase.

7.     Insist on a smoke-free environment

~ Demand a tobacco ban for a 100% smoke-free workplace. Support to adoption of smoking-cessation services and encourage your employer to provide help to those wanting to quit tobacco.

8.     Bring exercise to the workplace

~ Include physical activity in your working schedule. Cycle to work if possible, take the stairs, exercise or go for a walk during your lunch breaks and encourage others as well.

9.     Choose healthy food option

~ Ask for healthy food at your work canteen, or find nearby cafes or restaurant serving healthy meals.

10.  Encourage stress-free moment

~ While stress has not been shown to be a direct risk factor for heart disease and stroke, it is related to smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating.

Also, take time for lunch away from your workplace to get some fresh air and have regular breaks during the day. Try stretching or exercising for five minutes twice a day.

In the past decade, many businesses have recognized the importance of employee health and have committed to include health promotion in their corporate agenda.

However, not just employers need to be motivated; everyone can play a role in improving health in the workplace. Through employees, heart healthy habit can reach their family and friends for an even greater impact.

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