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HEALTH REPORT - September 25, 2002: World Heart Day - 2002-09-24

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

The World Heart Federation has declared Sunday, September twenty-ninth to be World Heart Day.

The World Heart Federation is a non-government organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Its purpose is the prevention and control of diseases of the vascular system. The group wants to help people all over the world live longer by preventing heart attacks and strokes. These conditions kill seventeen-million people around the world each year. The World Heart Federation includes one-hundred-sixty-six heart organizations in ninety-seven countries.

Health experts say that lack of exercise increases the chances of developing high blood pressure and diabetes. Both conditions lead to heart disease. Experts also say that between sixty-five and eighty-five percent of all people fail to get enough exercise. This is especially true for women and children. The World Heart Federation says more than two-million people die every year as a result of a lack of physical exercise.

World Heart Day will be a time to help people change their lives by deciding to eat low-fat foods, stop smoking cigarettes and exercising more. International actor Chow Yun Fat has become the “goodwill ambassador” for the World Heart Federation. He says thirty minutes of exercise every day helps control weight and improve mental health. He also urges people to follow his example by eating less red meat and more fish, rice, vegetables and oatmeal.

Seventy-nine countries are taking part in World Heart Day this year. Heart organizations in these nations have planned sports activities, concerts and public talks that urge people to improve their heart health. For example, the Ecuadorian Society of Cardiology is holding a Great Walk for the public on September twenty-ninth. The Nigerian Heart Foundation organized a golf tournament in Abuja and a musical concert in Lagos. It will also hold a special dinner and present awards to school students who wrote excellent essays about heart health.

The World Heart Federation says everyone can help improve their heart health by walking more. The experts say people should walk up and down stairs instead of using elevators at work. They should stand up instead of sitting down during the day and plan time for organized exercise.

This VOA Special English Health Report was written by Nancy Steinbach.