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Five million miles walked for World Heart Federation

Hong Kong,10 Feb 2014

  • More than a million people, from over 150 countries across the world, participate in the largest walking challenge of its kind.
  • 50,000 people download free app, Ground Miles, to track their walking and help motivate them to walk more.
  • Almost two thirds (62%) of Ground Miles app users achieve the recommended level of physical activity, in a week, through walking.

More than a million people from over 150 countries, today achieved an ambitious goal to walk five million miles together, as a part of the Ground Miles Challenge – making it the largest global walking challenge of its kind.

World Heart Federation and Bupa set the goal as part of World Heart Day, to encourage people to walk to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease (which includes heart disease and stroke) is the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for over 17 million deaths every year. According to the World Health Organisation, 80% of all heart disease and stroke would be prevented if the main risk factors were eliminated. There are a number of ways that people can reduce their risk, including doing more physical activity such as walking.

As a part of the challenge, more than 50,000 people downloaded a free, motivational walking app called Ground Miles to record their walking and help spur them on to walk more. Initial feedback and results from the app are positive, with almost two thirds (62%) of Ground Miles app users achieving their recommended level of physical activity, in a week, through walking.1

To celebrate achieving the five million mile challenge target, Bupa provided funding to the World Heart Federation which will be used to support programmes in Africa and South Asia, which protect children from the symptoms of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD).

Stuart Fletcher, CEO, Bupa, said: “I’m so thrilled that, together with the World Heart Federation, we have encouraged and mobilised more than a million people, from all over the world, not only to reach the enormous five million mile walking target, but also to incorporate more walking into their everyday lives.

“Bupa’s purpose is to help people live happier, longer lives; and so we look forward to continuing our partnership with the World Heart Federation and working together in 2014 to help millions more people from around the world improve their heart health.”

Johanna Ralston, CEO, World Heart Federation, said: “World Heart Federation is immensely proud that through World Heart Day events, together with our members, partners and Bupa, we mobilised more than a million people, in over 150 countries to go out and get walking. This achievement is testament to World Heart Federation and Bupa’s shared, global commitment to help people make positive behaviour changes, like walking more, to help lower their risk of Cardiovascular Disease.”

1As at 16/01/14, 62% of active Ground Miles app users had won a ‘healthy heart’ badge which is achieved by completing the World Health Organisation’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity in a week.

About Bupa

Bupa began in the UK in 1947. We fund healthcare around the world and run clinics, hospitals, dental centres, care homes, and more. With no shareholders, we reinvest our profits to provide more and better healthcare for customers.  
Bupa is UK’s largest health insurer.* In Hong Kong, we are known as the health insurance specialist. We have gained the trust of more than 400,000 individuals, and 3,200 companies including major corporations in public utility and telecom industry. The Hong Kong government recommends Bupa as the provider of quality health insurance for civil servants for more than 20 years in a row. 
Bupa also provides primary care services through Quality HealthCare Medical Services (QHMS), one of Hong Kong’s largest private clinic networks. 
* Source: Laing Buisson Health Cover UK Market Report 13th Edition, published 16 January 2017, in terms of market share among private medical insurance providers


About the World Heart Federation

With its 200 members from around the world, the World Heart Federation is working to achieve the World Health Organization’s target of reducing premature cardiovascular disease mortality of 25% by 2025. The World Heart Federation is committed to addressing cardiovascular health at the policy level, generating and exchanging ideas, sharing best practice, advancing scientific knowledge and promoting knowledge transfer to tackle cardiovascular disease – the number one killer. World Heart Day takes place on 29 September each year and was created by the World Heart Federation in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year and the numbers are rising. By 2030, it is expected that 23 million people will die from CVDs annually – that is more than the population of Australia. For more information, visit

About the Ground Miles app

  • Featured in the ‘Health & Fitness’ category in Germany, New Zealand, Poland & UK app stores, Ground Miles is a free, personalised motivational walking app that tracks when and how far the user walks. Using the individual’s own real time data, the app allows for personalised goal setting and uses motivation techniques to promote increased walking. It is also social - it allows you to create virtual walking groups of friends, family or work colleagues anywhere in the world.
  • Ground Miles is focussed on wellbeing, and it has been designed with behavioural change expertise from the ground up, focussing on the needs of those of us who want to be more physically active.
  • Ground Miles also features real time location maps on the app, showing where to walk to complete your daily target. It requires virtually no data input; you can personalise your experience by uploading your own background photos from your favourite walk locations; captures your distance in either kilometres or miles; and the app doesn’t need to be directly open to work and battery use is minimal.

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