8th annual World Heart Day to raise heart disease awareness Sunday, Sept. 30

Heart disease and stroke, which are associated with risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity, are the world's biggest killers, claiming 17.5 million lives a year. Approximately 80% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The eighth annual World Heart Day, sponsored by World Heart Federation member organizations in approximately 100 countries, will be observed on September 30. This year's theme is Team Up for Healthy Hearts. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Heart Federation is a nongovernmental organization committed to promoting longer and better lives through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke. World Heart Day activities will include health checks; organized walks, runs, and fitness sessions; public talks; stage shows; scientific forums and exhibitions; concerts; carnivals; and sports tournaments.

Preventive measures can reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke. At the community level, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 1) creating school, worksite, and health-care facility education programs; 2) developing policies that ensure access to screening, referral, and counseling services for stroke and heart disease risk factors; and 3) ensuring access to healthy foods and safe environments for physical activity (1). In addition, CDC has developed a plan for taking effective action through comprehensive public health partnerships and programs (2).

Information regarding CDC heart disease prevention programs is available at Information about World Heart Day and the World Heart Federation is available at Additional information regarding heart disease is available from AHA at


  • Pearson TA, Bazzarre TL, Daniels SR, et al. American Heart Association guide for improving cardiovascular health at the community level: a statement for public health practitioners, healthcare providers, and health policy makers from the American Heart Association Expert Panel on Population and Prevention Science. Circulation 2003;107:645--51.
  • US Department of Health and Human Services. A public health action plan to prevent heart disease and stroke. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2003.

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