HOLMES AND WASHINGTON — The Florida Department of Health in Holmes and Washington Counties and the World Heart Federation are proud to celebrate the 18th annual World Heart Day, which raises awareness of cardiovascular disease and prevention. World Heart Day will be celebrated on September 29, and the theme is “Share the Power.” This year’s theme emphasizes that the key to a healthy heart is to “know your heart, fuel your heart, move your heart, and love your heart.”

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the leading cause of death in the United States and Florida. Each year, one in four Americans and one in three Floridians die from cardiovascular disease. About half of all Americans have at least one of these three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. All Americans are at risk for cardiovascular disease, but the non-Hispanic black community, particularly those in the southeastern United States, have a greater risk. Nearly 44 percent of African American men and 48 percent of African American women have some form of cardiovascular disease.

It is important to remember that with cardiovascular health, many factors that cause an early death can be controlled through lifestyle changes.5 Each day strive to protect your heart and the hearts of those you love. FDOH encourages you to take the initiative to keep your heart charged and “share the power” to make a lasting difference in the health of your community.

This World Heart Day, commit to creating a healthier Florida through lifestyle changes including:

• Walks with your family and encouraging your friends to walk with you;

• Visits with your doctor to talk about your heart health;

• Eating healthy by cooking heart healthy meals; and

• Steps to quit smoking by utilizing Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way Program.

These actions can contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes throughout Florida. Visit www.worldheartday.org to find out what you can do to take part in this year’s World Heart Day, as well as www.floridahealth.gov/stroke and www.flhealth.gov/heart to learn more about stroke and heart attack resources.