On Sept. 29, we celebrate World Heart Day, a global initiative created by the World Heart Federation to better educate citizens about the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. This year focuses on healthy heart choices for everyone, everywhere.
As such, it is fitting that a bold new global agenda to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future was recently adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations (UN) at the start of the three-day Summit in New York City on Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals were approved unanimously on Sept. 25, and made the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – including cardiovascular disease – a top sustainable development priority. This includes the target of reducing premature mortality from NCDs by one third by the year 2030.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.” The official adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals came shortly after Pope Francis addressed the UN General Assembly stating, “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the World Summit … is an important sign of hope.”
We had the privilege of representing the ACC at the Summit, which included participation by more than 150 world leaders as part of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly. We participated in various plenary and satellite sessions with leaders of the NCD Alliance, the American Heart Association and the World Heart Federation, which focused on the adoption of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
This year’s World Heart Day also coincides with the publication of the Population Health Promotion issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which provides an in-depth look at the factors influencing cardiovascular health. Original research topics span from elements of nutrition to childhood stress to the impacts of smoking. As Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC, editor in chief of JACC notes in his Editor’s Page, health care professionals “need to start approaching the population with a stratified health strategy,” in order to sustain health throughout a lifetime.
Population Health is a strategic priority of the ACC, and the ACC Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee held a retreat this summer and is preparing a report to the ACC Board of Trustees on potential future directions for the College.
Through the work of our 50,000 global members and 34 International Chapters, the College is committed to encouraging individuals to start the dialogue to make healthy heart choices across the globe. The College’s patient-focused website, CardioSmart.org, has several resources available to aid in this effort, including tools to help track blood pressure, quit smoking, be more physically active and eat heart-healthy foods.