World Heart Day is celebrated each year on September 29th to raise global awareness and draw
attention to the devastating impact of cardiovascular disease. The World Heart Federation champions
the effort to inspire others to live heart-healthy lives. Beating cardiovascular disease is something that
matters to every beating heart.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Hawai’i.1 High rates of chronic conditions that
lead to cardiovascular disease afflict our communities, but many of these can often be prevented. In
recognition of World Heart Day, we are sharing five healthy habits to best care for your heart.
1. Schedule Health Screenings:
Facts to Know: 34% of Hawai‘i adults are living with high blood pressure and 32% of Hawai‘i
adults have high blood cholesterol.2
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are top risk factors for heart disease and
cardiovascular issues. Often there are no alerting symptoms that you have these conditions.
Make it a priority to visit your doctor and request these routine health screenings.
2. Eat Nutritious Foods:
Facts to Know: Obesity in Hawai‘i is rising at an epidemic rate, as it has more than doubled in the
past 20 years. 80% of Hawai‘i adults are eating less than five fruits and vegetables a day.3
A healthy diet is essential to caring for your heart. Rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables offer many
benefits including maintaining a healthy weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and controlling
blood sugar levels. Aim to add a fruit and vegetable at each of your meals and snacks. The
American Heart Association recommends filling half of your plate with produce.4
Check out our blog post, Heart-Healthy Gardening, to learn how to make fruits and vegetables
more accessible at your home.
3. Exercise Regularly:
Fact to Know: 75% of Hawai‘i adults are not meeting national physical activity
Exercise keeps your heart healthy and makes it stronger. It is recommended to be physically
active for at least 150 minutes a week. To reach that goal, start with small simple changes that
can add up over time. Schedule time on your calendar each day and pick an activity that you
enjoy, such as walking with a friend, gardening, yoga, or hula dancing.
Check out our blog post, Move More for a Healthy Heart, to learn how to stay motivated with an
4. Manage Impact of Stress:
Fact to Know: 37% of Hawai‘i adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression.6
Chronic stress, which is consistent stress over a long period of time, is related to heart attacks,
heart failure and heart rhythm problems. Relaxation techniques such as practicing meditation,
taking deep breaths or taking part in yoga can help reduce stress. Quality time spent with your
‘ohana is another way to positively impact your stress levels.
Check out our blog post, Impacts of Stress on the Heart, to learn more healthy ways to manage
and reduce stress levels.
5. Quit Smoking:
Facts to Know: 13% of adults in Hawai‘i are smoking cigarettes, and the youth population has
some of the highest e-cigarette use rates in the nation.7
The use of tobacco is the most preventable cause of death and cardiovascular disease. Quitting
a nicotine or tobacco addiction is not easy, but it offers great benefits for your health. Speak
with your healthcare provider about the best method for your situation and a potential referral
to a smoking cessation program.
Check out the American Heart Association’s 5 Step Guide to quit smoking.
Cardiovascular disease and its associated conditions greatly impact Hawai‘i, placing a burden on our
communities. This month in recognition of World Heart Day, pause and consider opportunities to adopt these five healthy habits into your lifestyle. Each day, a small change can lead to a healthier heart and living longer.