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World Heart Day - September 29


Created by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day informs people around the globe that CVD, including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 18.6 million lives each year, and highlights the actions that individuals can take to prevent and control CVD. It aims to drive action to educate people that by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided.

World Heart Day is a global campaign during which individuals, families, communities, and governments around the world participate in activities to take charge of their heart health and that of others. Through this campaign, the World Heart Federation unites people from all countries and backgrounds in the fight against the CVD burden and inspires and drives international action to encourage heart-healthy living across the world. We and our members believe in a world where heart health for everyone is a fundamental human right and a crucial element of global health justice.

The international holiday was established by the World Heart Federation in collaboration with the World Health Organization. The president of the World Heart Federation from 1997 to 1999, Antoni Bayés de Luna, had conceived this idea. The first celebration of the annual event took place on September 24, 2000, and, until 2011, World Heart Day was observed on the last Sunday in September.

More than 90 countries take part in this international observance every year. As a result, World Heart Day has proven to be an effective means for disseminating information about CVD. The high level of involvement from governments and organizations is most important for developing countries, which are heavily affected by these diseases.

By the numbers

  • 115,000 – the number of times our heartbeats in a day.
  • 2,000 – the number of gallons of blood pumped by the heart every day.
  • 1893 – the year in which the first open-heart surgery occurred.
  • 3,500 – the age in years of an Egyptian mummy in which the earliest-known case of heart disease was identified.
  • 1,200 – the fastest heartbeat per minute — that of the pygmy shrew.
  • 1 pound – the weight of the human heart.
  • 60,000 – the number of miles our blood vessel system can extend to.
  • 1,500 pounds – the weight of a blue whale’s heart.
  • 1.5 gallons – the amount of blood pumped by our heart each minute.

Crucial facts about heart disease

Heart disease costs all of us

​Each year, the U.S. spends approximately $200 billion in health care services, medication, and lost productivity due to heart disease.

​There are 3 common risk factors

​Smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol (specifically LDL), are the key risk factors for heart disease. Half of all Americans suffer from at least one of these.

Sodium intake is putting kids at risk

Approximately 10 percent of children in the U.S. have high blood pressure due to the consumption of too much sodium.

Early warning signs are crucial

​Approximately 47 percent of cardiac-related deaths take place outside of a hospital — demonstrating that people don't take early warning signs seriously enough.


Cardiovascular disease is the world’s biggest killer

It has many causes: from smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, to air pollution, and less common conditions such as Chagas disease and cardiac amyloidosis.

For the 520 million people living with CVD, COVID-19 has been heartbreaking. They have been more at risk of developing severe forms of the virus. And many have been afraid to attend routine and emergency appointments, and have become isolated from friends and family.


This year on World Heart Day: Use ❤️ to connect on September 29th

As the world still struggles to fight COVID-19, we’ve never been more aware of the importance of our own and our loved ones’ health.

And so this year, World Heart Day is more crucial than ever.

A chance for us all: to connect with our own hearts and make sure we’re fuelling and nurturing them as best we can; and to use the power of digital to connect every heart, everywhere.



  • High blood glucose (blood sugar) can be indicative of diabetes. CVD accounts for the majority of deaths in people with diabetes so if it’s left undiagnosed and untreated it can put you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for CVD. It’s called the ‘silent killer’ because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it.
  • Cholesterol is associated with around 4 million deaths per year, so visit your healthcare professional and ask them to measure your levels, as well as your weight and body mass index (BMI). They’ll then be able to advise on your CVD risk so you can take action to improve your heart health.

Use your heart — eat well and drink wisely.

  • Cut down on sugary beverages and fruit juices – choose water or unsweetened juices instead.
  • Swap sweet, sugary treats for fresh fruit as a healthy alternative.
  • Try to eat 5 portions (about a handful each) of fruit and veg a day – they can be fresh, frozen, tinned, or dried.
  • Keep the amount of alcohol you drink within recommended guidelines.
  • Limit processed foods that are often high in salt, sugar, and fat - unpack and unwrap less, peel, and cook more!
  • Search online or download an app and get lots of heart-healthy recipe tips.

Use your heart — get more active.

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 times a week.
  • Or at least 75 minutes spread throughout the week of vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Playing, walking, housework, dancing – they all count!
  • Be more active every day – take the stairs, walk or cycle instead of driving.
  • Stay fit at home – even if you’re on lockdown you can join virtual exercise classes and workouts for the whole family.
  • Download an app or use a wearable device to keep track of your steps and progress.


Use your heart — say no to tobacco

  • It’s the single best thing you can do to improve your heart health.
  • Within 2 years of quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is substantially reduced.
  • Within 15 years the risk of CVD returns to that of a non-smoker.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke is also a cause of heart disease in non-smokers.
  • By quitting/not smoking you’ll improve both your health and the health of those around you.
  • If you’re having trouble stopping, seek professional advice and ask your employer if they provide smoking cessation services.


Observing World Heart Day

Designate the day for a checkup

You may even be able to find a World Heart Day event near you that’s offering health check services. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Get your heart rate up with fitness events

Maintaining a healthy weight and low Body Mass Index (BMI) can help decrease your chances of developing heart disease. Whether you decide to attend a gym or fitness class — or prefer to get involved at a World Heart Day event — try to make being active a priority.


Schedule life-changing seminars

Most cardiac emergencies occur near someone who could potentially help — so setting up a CPR class and learning how to resuscitate a person could save lives. Cooking demonstrations, health lectures, and fitness lessons are also great events to plan for World Heart Day.




Filed Under: Events, WHO, diseases, heart, awareness, Wellness