World Heart Day 2023: Date, history, significance, theme and celebration
World Heart Day 2023: Here's all you need to know about the date, history, significance, theme and celebration of World Heart Day
In a world where knowledge about heart health is limited and policies are insufficient or lacking, World Heart Day is a global and multi-lingual campaign that aims to shatter barriers and empower individuals to take control of their well-being and this year, it is an opportunity for everyone to stop and consider how best to use ❤️ i.e. the heart emoji. Since cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the leading causes of death worldwide, World Heart Day is a reminder to everyone around the world to take care of their hearts and this year’s campaign focuses on the essential step of knowing our hearts first.
To increase public awareness of cardiovascular diseases, their prevention and their global impact, World Heart Day is observed and celebrated annually on September 29.
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World Health Day was first founded in 1999 with the World Heart Federation (WHF) collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The idea of an annual event was conceived by Antoni Bayés de Luna, the president of WHF from 1997-2011. Originally, World Heart Day was observed on the last Sunday of September, with the first celebration taking place on September 24, 2000.
According to 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.”
This year, the theme of World Heart Day is “Use ❤️ Know ❤️” i.e. use and know how best to use heart emoji since visual language is a part of our daily lives where emojis are one of the most popular forms of communications today, especially amongst younger generations, to help retain people’s attention and transcend language barriers.
On this day, individuals and communities take proactive steps to prevent and control heart conditions by emphasising the role of healthy behaviours in preventing CVDs and providing information on factors like smoking cessation, regular physical activity, healthy eating and managing stress. While some healthcare facilities offer free or discounted heart health screenings and check-ups that help individuals assess their risk of heart disease, other health organisations, governments and non-profit groups organise awareness campaigns and events to educate people about the risk factors associated with heart disease and the importance of heart-healthy lifestyles.
This is done through advocacy efforts by activists urging governments to implement policies that promote heart health such as regulations on tobacco and unhealthy food, using heart health using specific hashtags on social media platforms, conducting educational sessions and workshops that focus on the importance of a balanced diet, reducing salt and sugar intake and making heart-healthy food choices. Another way is through walkathons, cycling events and fitness classes that encourage people to participate in physical activities and exercise events to promote heart health on World Heart Day.