Sunday, April 7th is World Health Day, celebrating the anniversary of the foundation of the World Health Organization in 1948. It is a day to bring attention to the significant global health issues that impact people all over the world, and a day to donate to a project through Jolkona, that will improve the health of individuals, and of a community.
This year’s theme of World Health Day is cardiovascular disease (CVD), and high blood pressure. CVD (including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure) is the leading causes of death and disability world wide, representing 30% of global deaths (17.3 million people). In fact, as cause of death, it is far more common in developed countries than it is in undeveloped countries. So this year, in honor of World Health Day, we are asking you to think locally by taking action to reduce your own risk for CVD, whilst also acting globally by working to alleviate health concerns that under-empowered people face, such as malnutrition and poor sanitation.
You can be sure to lower your risk of CVD and other related non-communicable diseases by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some key ways to protect heart health.
- Avoid excessive tobacco use, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet.
- 30 minutes of physical activity every day of the week.
- Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, as well as limiting the amount of salt to less than a teaspoon a day.
Find out more about CVD at the WHO
While you take steps to improve your health, remember that CVD is a global epidemic, and disproportionately affects the developing world.
- 80% of people who die from non-communicable diseases live in low or middle-income countries.
- Low birth weight, folate deficiency, infections and poor nutrition are risk factors for non-communicable diseases that significantly impact people in developing countries.
- People in developing countries are usually unable to access the resources needed to effectively diagnose and treat their disease.
- The lifestyle changes associates with industrialization and urbanization, such as a sedentary lifestyle, and increased alcohol and tobacco use increase the risk of CVD in developing countries.
- Premature deaths due to CVD reduce the GDP of low and middle-income countries by as much as 6.8%, resulting in a heavy burden on rapid economic development*
*Statistics taken from WHO’s CVD Factsheet
While maintaining a healthy heart is certainly important, you can also impact global health by donating to a project that benefits under-empowered communities who face pressing health crises due to malnutrition or disease.
- Donate $100 through the Mali Health Organizing Project to provide a year of high-impact health care for 10 people living in slum neighborhoods in Mali. Your donation enrolls families in a comprehensive healthcare program through a local clinic. The program provides home visits to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases quickly and effectively, educating communities about healthcare, and reducing child mortality.
- Donate $40 through Friends of Orphans, to provide a month’s worth of fresh seasonal produce for an orphan in Mexico. The children receive a balanced diet, which aids in physical development, and prevent micronutrient deficiencies.
- Donate $260 through the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society to build a hygienic and environmentally friendly toilet in the poorest parts of rural India. This allows people, especially women, to perform bodily functions in safety and privacy, while reducing contact with waste, which causes 80% of preventable disease in rural communities.
Spend April 7th making the world a little bit healthier. Make changes to your lifestyle to prevent cardiovascular disease, and lengthen your life, and reach out to a community that faces a pressing health crisis. Think locally and act globally on World Health Day.