On September 29th people all over the world will be participating in World Heart Day. This awareness day and intervention campaign is sponsored by the World Heart Federation and seeks to turn the tide in the battle against Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) which claims more lives each year than anything else. The goal of World Heart Day is to encourage people to create heart healthy environments so that it is easier to live, work, and play in heart healthy ways.
How Heart Healthy in Your Environment?
Although CVD kills more people on the planet each year than anything else, almost all cases of the disease can be prevented. Prevention centers on changing lifestyle habits and aspects of the environment in order to reduce or eliminate those things that raise the risk of developing the disease.
Many people underestimate the role their environment plays in the most common risk factors for CVD including smoking, inactivity, and unhealthy eating habits. We tend to put the blame for the unhealthy behaviors that increase the risk of developing the disease on the person rather than looking at whether the environment where they work, live, and play supports a healthy lifestyle or an unhealthy one. One of the things the World Heart Foundation hopes to change is this view.
If we can embrace the idea that healthy environments support people in making healthy choices and living heart-healthy lifestyles, we can focus on creating the kind of environments that will reduce the impact of CVD around the world.
Today, more than 17 million people die each year from CVD and that number is expected to top 20 million by 2030. Do your part this year in honor of World Heart Day and commit to making some simple changes to your own environment that will help make your environment more heart-healthy.
How to Make Your Environment More Heart Healthy
To help you improve the heart-healthiness of the places where you work, live, and play, here are some ideas for the World Heart Federation.
- Focus on filling your refrigerator and pantry with healthy food options. It is much easier to eat healthy if you have the food you need on hand and it is even easier, if that is all the food you have available.
- Focus on fresh whole foods and avoid pre-packaged food products. These products are generally high in sugar, salt, and fat, which can contribute to CVD when eaten in excess.
- Pack lunches for work and school at home so you can make healthy selections.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Ban smoking in your home. Avoid secondhand smoke.
- Be more active. Simply walking for 20-30 minutes every day can make a difference in your risk for CVD.
- Engage in active hobbies. Rather than watching television, go for a bike ride or a hike.
- Know your risk. Get regular checkups with your doctor to track your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and BMI. Knowing your risk factors will help you determine which changes are the most important to make.
We at Fill Your Plate value health as much as we do our deliciously grown and raised farm products. You can find many healthy, delicious recipes on the recipe section of Fill Your Plate to help you eat for your heart’s health, too.
- Gardening is Good for Your Health (fillyourplate.org)
- How to Keep Kids Healthy This Summer (fillyourplate.org)
- March Ahead Toward Better Health (fillyourplate.org)