Today is "World Heart Day". World Heart Day has been celebrated on the last Sunday in September every year since 1999.
The theme Workplace Wellness is the overarching topic of World Heart Day 2010, with the aim to promote the workplace as the ideal setting to adopt healthy behaviours in order to prevent heart disease and stroke.
About World Heart Day
World Heart Day was created to inform people around the world that heart disease and stroke are the world's leading cause of death, claiming 17.1 million lives every year.
Organized by the World Heart Federation and its members, World Heart Day is co-sponsored by the World heath Organization (WHO), UNESCO and United Nations Sport for Development and Peace initiative.
Together with its members, the World Heart Federation spreads the news that at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors are controlled.
Risk factors for heart disease and stroke
raised blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels,
inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables,
How to live a healthy life
2. Get active & 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 disease and stroke.
5. Know your numbers - Visit a healthcare professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, together with waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index (BMI). 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 alcohol intake can cause your blood pressure to rise and your weight to increase.
Ideas on how to make your workplace healthier
1. Insist on a smoke-free environment
Demand a tobacco ban - ensure your workplace is 100% smoke-free
Support the adoption of smoking - cessation services encourage your employer to provide help to those wanting to quit tobacco
2. Bring exercise to the workplace - Include physical activity in your working schedule - cycle to work if this is possible, take the stairs, exercise or go for a walk during your lunch breaks, and encourage others to do so too
3. Choose healthy food options- Ask for healthy food at your work canteen, or find nearby cafes or restaurants that serve healthy meals
4. Encourage stress-free moments -whilst stress has not been shown to be a direct risk fact or for heart disease and stroke, it is related to smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating, which are risk factors for heart disease.
5. Take time for lunch away from your workplace to get some fresh air
6. Have regular breaks during the day - try stretching or exercising for 5 minutes twice a day
Websites of World Heart Federation and World Health Organization
(Images courtesy: Google Images)