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Features - Love Is Good
world heart federation

With St. Valentine's Day fast approaching, the news we all wanted to hear...


Love is good for your heartValentines Day lovers have another reason to celebrate today, as latest findings show that being in love and being loved helps to keep us healthy and is particularly good for our hearts.

This positive news has been identified by the World Heart Federation, an NGO dedicated to the global prevention of heart disease and stroke. The research showed that affection and kindness in our lives helps us to maintain a good mental attitude, while enhancing health through its positive impact on immune systems and the heart.¹

A loving atmosphere, whether from friends, family or a partner also reduces stress, depression and anxiety, which are recognised as major psychological risk factors that cause heart disease.²

One in three of us will die from developing heart disease or stroke. If we smoke, have a high cholesterol level and high blood pressure, this will increase by 20% our risk for the next 10 years of developing heart disease by the age of 50 for men and 60 for women.³

"This is why we are stressing the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and the positive impact that love can make in keeping your heart healthy", says Professor Mario Maranhão, President of the World Heart Federation. "Finding the right balance between physical and emotional health is so important. The presence of social support and social networks in improving health and preventing premature death, are very important especially when taken together with all the preventative actions such as stopping smoking, taking regular physical exercise and adopting healthy diets," concluded Professor Maranhão.

The World Heart Federation's advice is to:

  • reduce levels of stress by finding time to relax and by getting a peaceful sleep.
  • choose a diet with lots of variety and always include fresh fruit, whole grains and vegetables.
  • drink alcohol in moderation and reduce the levels of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet.
  • make exercise a part of your lifestyle, thirty minutes of moderately intensive exercise at least three times a week.
  • if you smoke cigarettes, give them up-experts agree that treatment, together with advice and support from your GP, pharmacist or nurse can provide you with the best chance ever of quitting.

By applying these steps to a healthy lifestyle, the World Heart Federation wants everyone to know on Valentine's Day that they can do something positive to prevent heart disease later in life.

  1. Annual Review Psychol. 2002; 53:314-69
  2. R.S. Eliot: "From Stress to Strength"; New York, Bantam Books; 1994
  3. European Heart Journal; Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in Clinical Practices Recommendation of the 2nd Joint Task Force of European and other Societies on Coronary Prevention; 1998; 19: 1434-1503

World Heart Day - 29th September 2002

World Heart Day is a major driving force for encouraging global cardiovascular disease prevention. It is a great opportunity for all of the World Heart Federation's members in 97 countries to share and spread the latest news of cardiovascular disease prevention.

The theme for this year's activities is "A Heart for Life", encouraging a healthy lifestyle through increased physical activity and a reduction of the risk of cardiovascular disease through smoke-free living, healthy nutrition and weight control, amongst other measures.

During World Heart Day, member societies of cardiology and heart foundations worldwide will organise activities to promote the theme, 'a heart for life'. These will include festivals promoting healthy eating, professional health counselling and blood pressure monitoring and events to encourage increased physical exercise such as walking, jogging, cycling, roller-skating, skipping, aerobic demonstrations and football matches.

The World Heart Federation

The World Heart Federation is a Non Governmental Organisation based in Geneva and dedicated to the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases around the world. The Federation is committed to helping the global population achieve a longer and better life through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke, with a particular focus on low and middle-income countries. The World Heart Federation is comprised of 166 member societies of cardiology and heart foundations from 97 countries and continental members covering the regions of Asia-Pacific, Europe, East Mediterranean, InterAmerica and Africa.


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