The principle of 'sick individuals vs. sick population', a concept pioneered by Geoffrey Rose 35years ago, is particularly applicable to heart failure (HF). This perspective article summarizes and expands on the Geoffrey Rose lecture given at the European Society of Cardiology meeting held in conjunction with the World Congress of Cardiology, in Paris, 2019. This article focuses on the fact that, clearly, HF not only affects a large spectrum of the population globally, but it occurs in all ages and equally in both genders. Heart failure, in most parts of the world, is clearly not a disease of the elderly. There are multiple and complex pathways leading to HF which include various risk factors (including communicable diseases and exposure to indoor and environmental pollutants), poverty and overcrowding, as well as sub-optimal access to health care systems due to socioeconomic inequities. Reflecting on Geoffrey Rose's concept 35years later motivates us to confront our global responsibility to address the population distribution of risk factors more effectively, instead of focusing solely on interventions that target high-risk individuals.