World Heart Day – The Origin, The Cause, The Celebration
The World Heart Federation is an international, nongovernmental organization which is dedicated to “uniting its members and leads the global fight against heart disease and stroke, with a focus on low-and middle-income countries”. The federation has more than 200 member organizations in 100 plus countries. World Heart Day is an initiative of the the World Heart Federation, created in 2000 to raise awareness about heart diseases. The day is celebrated on 29th September every year when activities such as public talks and screenings, walks and runs, concerts or sporting events are organized worldwide by members and partners of the World Heart Federation.
World Heart Day was initiated to spread awareness about the perils of having an unhealthy heart due to an improper lifestyle. The day was first celebrated in 2000, and for 11 years, it was observed on the last Sunday of September before September 29 was selected as the fixed date.
It’s a noble one. World Heart Day essentially tries to educate the masses about cardiovascular diseases, their rate of infliction and prevention and treatment programs. Cardiovascular diseases account for around 17.3 million deaths annually throughout the world. It has been asserted that more than 80% of these deaths can be averted if we avoid major risk factors such as unhealthy diet, tobacco and physical inactivity. It has also been found that women and children are equally, if not more, susceptible to CVDs (cardiovascular diseases). World Heart Day aims to revive the spirit, the habit of leading a lifestyle that is healthy and disease free.
As mentioned above, World Heart Day is marked by public screenings, walks and runs, sporting events, concerts, fundraisers etc. to emphasize the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle that minimizes the risk of heart diseases. Having more than 200 associates in 100 plus countries, World Heart Federation raises a lot of support through its themed events such as Dress Red Day in Holland, Heart Healthy Lunch in the US and World HeartCare Conferences in Canada. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kyrghystan, Malaysia and Bangladesh are prominent members of this crusade against CVD. The day has become a festival of sorts, with more and more members pitching in every year. Liberal grants are raised through fundraisers and the same are used to sponsor heart treatments for the underprivileged in developing countries – which account for 80% of all heart patients.
“He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything.”