WHO global health days

Campaign essentials

World Health Day 2013: Control your blood pressure

Campaign at a glance

Every year, the World Health Organization selects a priority area of global public health concern as the theme for World Health Day.

The theme for World Health Day 2013 is controlling high blood pressure, a condition which affects more than one in three adults worldwide. For millions of people, high blood pressure will lead to fatal heart attacks, debilitating strokes, and chronic heart and kidney disease.

As the world’s population ages and grows, unhealthy behaviours – an unbalanced diet, a lack of physical activity, smoking, harmful use of alcohol – together with stressful lifestyles, all increase the chances of developing high blood pressure. All regions of the world are affected.

High blood pressure is both preventable and treatable. Increasing public awareness is key, as is access to early detection. Countries need systems and services in place to support healthy lifestyles. Access to medicines of good quality, which are effective and inexpensive, is also vital, particularly at primary care level.

This year’s campaign provides an opportunity to focus attention on the prevention and control of high blood pressure, as a means of reducing the number of people affected, both now and in the future, by cardiovascular disease.

World Health Day is WHO’s birthday. It is celebrated on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. Each year a theme is selected highlighting a priority area of public health concern in the world.