A doctor uses a stethoscope to examine a young boy at the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida. Among Native Americans, heart disease is the most dangerous illness.

Photograph by Otis Imboden, National Geographic
  • Select Text Level:

    On September 29, 2000, the world first celebrated World Heart Day. Heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death, and World Heart Day encourages people and communities to invest in heart-healthy lifestyle choices.
    Limiting tobacco use, choosing healthy foods, and getting plenty of exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease. Communities can reduce the risk of heart disease by creating smoke-free zones, providing healthy school meals, and making sure people have access to green spaces for exercise. Investing in heart-healthy environments not only creates a healthier population, but reduces expenditures on health care.
    World Heart Day activities include heart-disease screenings in Bahia Blanca, Argentina; a walk-a-thon in Accra, Ghana; health-care seminars in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; a health-care technology exhibit in Jakarta, Indonesia; and a demonstration of healthy cuisine in Milan, Italy.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    access Noun

    ability to use.

    celebrate Verb

    to observe or mark an important event with public and private ceremonies or festivities.

    cuisine Noun

    a style of cooking.

    demonstration Noun

    organized public display of support or criticism for a policy or event.

    encourage Verb

    to inspire or support a person or idea.

    environment Noun

    conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.

    exhibit Noun

    display, often in a museum.

    expenditure Noun

    cost or expense.

    fast food Noun food prepared in large quantities by a standardized method and dispensed quickly at inexpensive restaurants for eating there or elsewhere.
    food Noun

    material, usually of plant or animal origin, that living organisms use to obtain nutrients.

    Encyclopedic Entry: food
    health care Noun

    system for addressing the physical health of a population.

    heart disease Noun

    illness affecting the heart and circulatory system.

    invest Verb

    to contribute time or money.

    lifestyle Noun

    way of living, including cultural, economic, and social habits.

    limit Verb

    to restrict or keep to a certain amount.

    population Noun

    total number of people or organisms in a particular area.

    promote Verb

    to encourage or help.

    reduce Verb

    to lower or lessen.

    screening Noun

    initial evaluation of an individual used to identify the presence of a disease.

    seminar Noun

    meeting for holding discussions on a specific topic.

    stroke Noun

    injury caused by a blood clot in the brain.

    technology Noun

    the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.

    tobacco Noun

    plant whose leaves are smoked or chewed as a mild narcotic.

    zone Noun

    area separated from others by artificial or natural divisions.

    Encyclopedic Entry: zone