WHO global health days

Campaign essentials

World Health Day 2013: Control your blood pressure

Overall goal and objectives

Overall goal

The goal of this World Health Day campaign is to reduce heart attacks and strokes.


Specific objectives of the campaign are:

  • to raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure;
  • to provide information on how to prevent high blood pressure and related complications;
  • to encourage adults to check their blood pressure and to follow the advice of healthcare professionals;
  • to encourage self-care to prevent high blood pressure;
  • to make blood pressure measurement affordable to all;
  • to incite national and local authorities to create enabling environments for healthy behaviours.

Target audiences

We encourage individuals and organizations working at international, regional, national, and community levels, in the public and private sectors and civil society, to coordinate and engage in activities for World Health Day.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the inside of blood vessels. It is created by the pumping of the heart.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and is recorded as two numbers usually written one above the other.

The upper number is the systolic blood pressure, the highest pressure in blood vessels when the heartbeats. The lower number is the diastolic blood pressure, the lowest pressure in blood vessels in between heartbeats when the heart relaxes.

Normal adult blood pressure is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 120 mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mm Hg. (Some physicians express this as “12 over 8”, rather than “120 over 80”.)

Normal levels of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure are particularly important for the efficient function of vital organs, such as the heart, brain and kidney, and for overall health and wellbeing.