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Friday, 5 April 2013

World Health Day 2013 – How Controlling Your Blood Pressure Can Benefit the Environment

Source: www.wta.org
Every year, the World Health Organization selects a priority area of global public health concern as the World Health Day theme.  This year’s World Health Day focuses on high blood pressure (hypertension), a condition that affects more than one in three adults worldwide, leads to heart disease and contributes to more than nine million deaths every year.  Sustainable living practices should help prevent and control high blood pressure in the cases where medication is not needed.  

You can take good care of your heart and protect the environment at the same time:
  • Quit smoking.  Smoking is not only one of the main factors leading to arteriosclerosis but cigarettes are also the most littered item worldwide.  Cigarette butts are not biodegradable.  Also, cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals that, according to an Italian study, pollute the air ten times more than a diesel car exhaust.
  • Start biking and walking.  Being overweight or obese and not getting enough physical activity all contribute to high blood pressure.  Using a bike or walking from A to B can help strengthen your heart and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Get in touch with nature.  Stress is also a contributor to high blood pressure.  Numerous recent studies have shown how hiking and outdoor activities can have a positive effect on reducing stress and increasing wellbeing.  Being close to nature helps improve your health and build environmental awareness.

What can be more powerful than sharing the benefits of a more sustainable lifestyle?  People tend to react more to positive results - especially on health issues - than to negative statistics, e.g. showing the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. 

Perhaps this is an opportunity to reframe the healthcare system through the lens of sustainability and change people’s behaviour towards environmental protection by tackling personal health issues.

Follow World Health Day news on Twitter this Sunday #worldhealthday.

Blog by Zoe Volioti

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