World Health Day, observed annually on April 7, is held to mark the founding of the WHO in 1948 "and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year," GlobalPost reports (4/3). Noting the theme this year is hypertension, Xinhua writes that the WHO "called on Wednesday for greater efforts to prevent and control this disease, which is also known as high blood pressure" (4/3). "'Our aim today is to make people aware of the need to know their blood pressure, to take high blood pressure seriously, and then to take control,' said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan," according to the U.N. News Centre, which notes the WHO "is emphasizing the importance of people taking steps to improve their health by calling on adults to measure their blood pressure on World Health Day" (4/3). "Hypertension is one of the most important contributors to heart disease and stroke -- which together make up the world's number one cause of premature death and disability," a WHO press release states, adding, "Researchers estimate that high blood pressure contributes to nearly 9.4 million deaths from cardiovascular disease each year" (4/3).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.