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Heart charity calls for earlier action to save lives
2:00pm Saturday 6th October 2012 in NewsXtra
People should start living healthy lives from childhood to avoid the chance of heart disease in later life, says national charity Heart Research UK.
A multi-national survey conducted by the World Heart Federation – of which Heart Research UK is a member - has revealed that nearly half of all those questioned across four countries believe that you don’t need to take action to prevent cardiovascular disease until you are aged 30 or older.
The survey was conducted among 4,000 adults across four Continents by the World Heart Federation, and is calling for people - especially mothers – to take action now to protect their own heart health and that of their children and families to safeguard future generations.
Yorkshire-based national charity Heart Research UK, which funds research into heart disease and encourages people to live healthier lifestyles, says people should be looking after their hearts from childhood onwards.
The WHF survey, carried out in the UK, USA, Brazil and India, showed that:
• On average, people believe 32.2 years is the age to take action about their heart health
• By this age, the average heart will have beaten 1.3 billion times - about half of its life expectancy
• Only one-quarter (26 per cent) of mothers believe young people under 20 years need to take action
• Men aged 40 years and over are most likely to think it’s OK to delay taking action, believing an average age of 37.3 years is the time to start caring for heart health
Coronary heart disease is the world’s biggest killer with 17.3 million people dying every year. It also kills more people in the UK than any other illness with 88,000 deaths each year and nearly 2.7 million people living with the illness. There are 124,000 heart attacks in the UK every year.
Heart Research UK has just recently set up a partnership with healthcare provider Simplyhealth
to highlight the links between heart disease and poor oral health which has an important role in the build-up of clogged arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.
Barbara Harpham, national director of Heart Research UK said: “The message on World Heart Day is: it’s never too early to look after your heart. It is more likely that if you have a young, healthy heart you will go on to have a healthy heart when you are older.
“Parents play an important role: they feed their children, they encourage them to be active and they teach them lessons that set the pattern for their lives. Good lessons learned early are good examples to follow for life.”
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, being overweight, obesity and tobacco use can have lifelong consequences for men, women and children. At least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if people control these risk factors.
Professor Sidney C. Smith Jr, MD and President of the World Heart Federation said: “The fact is that good heart health starts from childhood. We have an opportunity to change the course of CVD and its global impact, by encouraging and supporting heart-healthy living from an early age.
“On World Heart Day, over 150 countries are joining together to encourage individuals, families, communities and governments to take action to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke amongst women and children.”