On April 7th, people around the globe will be recognizing World Health Day. This international event has raised awareness about a variety of important wellness topics for 70 years. So, what is World Health Day and why does it matter? Let’s look at what you need to know.
What Is World Health Day?
This World Health Organization (WHO) international event first took place back in 1950. Since then, each annual event has shed light on a specific health topic. Previous years’ themes have included Universal Health Coverage (UHC), depression, diabetes, and food safety. As soon as each annual theme is announced, people can begin to plan their events and activities.
World Health Day 2020 Theme
Since 2020 is the official International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, it’s only fitting that this year’s World Health Day theme matches. The day, this year on April 7th, will aim – through advocacy activities and campaigns around the world – to shine a light on all the work that these dedicated health professionals do daily.
The World Health Organization has drawn up a list of secondary goals, including:
- Encourage public appreciation for the work of nurses and midwives
- Boost the profile of both nurses and midwives within the health care sector
- Trigger some support and extra investment for both nurses and midwives
Nursing and Midwife Statistics
- There are approximately 29 million nurses and midwives in the world.
- Through 2022, there will be more nursing jobs available in the United States than any other role, according to the American Nurses Association.
- Nurses earn an average of $71,730 per year in the United States.
- Around 80% of Britons state that they “always” have trust in the National Health Service nurses that treat them.
- 63% of Registered Nurses in the United States work in a hospital setting.
- In 2018, there were 303,146 registered nurses (RNs), including nurse practitioners (NPs) in Canada.
- Ireland has the highest number of midwives per capita compared with the other EU Member States.
How to Get Involved in World Health Day 2020
You can get involved and show some support for World Health Day 2020 in a variety of ways. First, check to see what local events are going on near you, then look at the WHO’s list of simple ways in which you can play your part when April 7th comes around. Here’s a summary of some of the things you might do:
- Send a letter to leaders: Sending letters to politicians could be a good place to start. Asking them how they are helping nurses and midwives could spark real change or at least bring the issue to the forefront of leaders’ minds.
- Say “thank you” to a nurse: Sometimes, a simple thank you can go a long way. It could take the form of sending some flowers to a nurse or midwife who has treated you recently. Alternatively, you can take WHO up on its suggestion to share on social media using the hashtag #SupportNursesAndMidwives.
- Start a petition: If you’re truly passionate about helping nurses and midwives, why not start a petition to support positive change? Use one of the many online services to raise awareness, spread the word, and gather signatures.
- Spend a day in the life of a nurse: Do you think you could do what a nurse or midwife does? Why not see if you can shadow one of these health care professionals for just a day to see what they really do? It’s another of WHO’s suggestions.
How to Protect Your General Health
While World Health Day comes around once a year, you should take care of your wellness the whole year round. This isn’t easy when you’re busy or stressed, but finding simple ways to look after your general health should be your top priority. Being active and eating well are two good places to start.
Do you lead an active lifestyle? If you work in an office or spend all day sitting down, it could be harmful to your health. The European Society of Cardiology suggests that leading a sedentary life for 20 years can double your risk of early mortality. Although your job role might dictate that you stay seated throughout the day, there are still things you can do to improve your everyday activity levels.
Don’t panic if you’re not naturally inclined to go to the gym. You can exercise without hitting the treadmill. One of the smartest things you can do is to build exercise into your usual routine so that you hardly even notice you’re exercising. Why not join a dance class that you’ll enjoy, or just start cycling to work?
If you’re not sure how much activity you should be doing, don’t worry. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should be doing up to five hours of moderate exercise per week or up to two-and-a-half hours of vigorous exercise per week.
Eating well means eating a healthy, balanced diet; not eating more food! You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “You are what you eat!” and the National Institute of Health suggests that what you eat can have an impact on your risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture set out some healthy eating guidelines for the public. Between 2015 and 2020, the guidelines included these insights:
- Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods: Your daily diet should be based around nutrient-rich foods, which should include vegetables, fruits, grains, protein-dense foods (such as seafood, lean meat, and eggs), and oils.
- Limit unhealthy food groups: It’s not only about what you eat but also what you don’t eat. You should limit the unhealthy ingredients you consume, which means saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. Be wary of processed foods, high-sugar snacks, and adding salt to meals. And don’t deep-fry your food!
- Consume alcohol only in moderation: The occasional adult beverage could do no harm, but bear in mind that women should only drink up to one alcoholic beverage per day while men should only consume up to two.
Learn About Your Genetic Disease Predispositions and Current Health
Your genetic makeup plays a big part in your health, so if you’re hoping to protect your everyday wellness, learning more about your DNA or blood biomarkers could make a big difference. One of the easiest ways to do this is by taking an at-home test, but which one is right for you? To help you decide, we’ve found a variety of great kits currently on the market.
MyHeritage: With millions of customers, MyHeritage DNA is one of the leading health DNA test kit providers in the world. Its test results tell you whether you are genetically predisposed to 13 different health disorders. Depending on your results, you’ll also get advice on how to adapt your lifestyle to decrease your risk. If genetic counseling is recommended, you’ll be able to connect with a genetic counselor for free and discuss your results.
AncestryDNA: Boasting the largest database of commercial DNA samples, AncestryDNA is a name you can trust. Its detailed health and wellness report covers your risk of major illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, familial hypercholesterolemia, hereditary hemochromatosis, and hereditary thrombophilia. The easy-to-read report also includes information on how your genetics affect your vitamin and nutrient absorption, so you can adjust your diet to meet your nutrition goals.
23andMe: The health and wellness testing kit from 23andMe gives you a detailed overview of how your genes impact your body. The report provides an insight into your genetic risk for 13 common diseases and your carrier status for a massive 44 congenital conditions. As well as key insights – such as your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and the gene variants that could increase your risk of cancer – you also get a Health Action Plan that will help you to adapt your lifestyle.
Everlywell: Instead of looking at your genetic predispositions, Everlywell offers dozens of tests that cover key aspects of your current health, including sexual, hormonal, and general wellness. The physician-reviewed results come from a CLIA-approved clinical lab, which means you can put your trust in this testing company. As well as reporting on your heart health, food sensitivity, folic acid, sleep, stress, and blood sugar levels, you also get insights into how you can maintain a healthy weight.
LetsGetChecked: Like Everlywell, LetsGetChecked checks you for current conditions, such as sexually transmitted diseases and hormone levels. Therefore, unlike DNA tests that only require you to submit a saliva or cheek-swab sample, this company (and Everlywell) requires you to submit a small amount of blood by pricking your finger. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds!
Futura Genetics: The Futura Genetics DNA kit tests for predispositions to 28 common medical conditions. Your risk score for each potential illness is compared to the general population, and the easy-to-read report also comes complete with simple lifestyle tips that could help you reduce your risk. Plus, you can save a lot of money by uploading your raw data if you’ve already taken a 23andMe test.
HealthCodes DNA: If you’re ready to make some significant lifestyle changes, HealthCodes DNA could be the testing kit for you. You get much more than genetic results since your purchase includes unlimited health consultations and access to a health planning program. The medical-grade DNA kits are processed in clinical-grade labs, so you should be able to trust the results.
The Final Takeaway
Takeaways are not known for being healthy, but this one will be!
World Health Day on April 7th should be an important date on everyone’s calendar. There are lots of ways you can get involved in making nurses and midwives feel more supported and appreciated, which is this year’s theme. You can also take the opportunity to review your personal health, perhaps by taking a DNA or at-home blood test to see what health conditions you could be predisposed to or suffering from.
Visit these websites for more information about the issues discussed in this article:
- World Health Day 2020 – https://www.who.int/news-room/events
- World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/
- International Confederation of Midwives – https://www.internationalmidwives.org/
- International Council of Nurses – https://www.icn.ch/
- Harvard Health – https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/staying-healthy