Make these five promises for better heart health

To encourage good heart habits, the World Heart Federation has asked people around the world to make five promises.

Myupchar October 01, 2019 12:47:39 IST
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Make these five promises for better heart health
  • Setting an example by eating healthy and exercising regularly could set off a positive chain of events in our children's lives too

  • If you are from the healthcare industry, try to motivate patients and visitors to give up smoking

  • Work-life imbalance and stress at the office are both contributing to the rise of lifestyle disorders such as hypertension and diabetes in India

World Heart Day (29 September) is just one day. But, we need to show our hearts tender loving care throughout the year. To encourage good heart habits, the World Heart Federation — a Geneva, Switzerland, based non-governmental organisation — has asked people around the world to make these five promises:

1) “A promise to our families to cook and eat more healthily”

“You are what you eat,” is not just another saying. It’s true. Our dietary habits make all the difference to our heart health. Eating processed foods such as chips and cola is detrimental to the heart - they contain high amounts of salt and unhealthy saturated fats which can increase the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension and high cholesterol levels.

Make these five promises for better heart health

Representational image. Reuters

Make a fresh start: instead of trying to quit cold turkey, take baby steps towards reducing your intake of fatty and salty foods. Eat two pieces of fruit, one serving of green vegetables and a handful of nuts and seeds daily.

2) “A promise to our children to exercise more and help them to be more active, to say no to smoking and help our loved ones to stop”

Our children learn most things by observing us. If we work late, are constantly stressed out, sleep little, eat poorly, drink frequently or smoke, they are more likely to imbibe these habits.

On the other hand, setting an example by eating healthy and exercising regularly — just 30-35 minutes a day, about four times a week — could set off a positive chain of events in our children's lives too.

Make a fresh start: a fun way to engage children in exercise is to take them jogging on the weekends. If you have a dog take him or her, too - research shows that people who have a happy dog tend to have better heart health. Quit smoking as early as you can - it has more immediate and far-reaching effects than you think.

3) “A promise as a healthcare professional to help patients give up smoking and lower their cholesterol”

If you are from the healthcare industry, try to motivate patients and visitors to give up smoking. Explain how smoking affects the heart and blood vessels - smokers need our support, not criticism. (You can also do this for friends and family who smoke.)

High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. With a little bit of effort — and better information — you can help people avoid these risks. As a healthcare professional, explain to patients how the body needs cholesterol to synthesise vitamin D which makes bones strong and healthy, among other functions. Explain what happens when their cholesterol levels rise above normal. Then explain how they can keep cholesterol in control exercise and diet.

Make a fresh start: Give people the information they need to make better choices. Tell your patients the simplest things that can do to improve heart health. Consider these examples: eat a few walnut daily, easy. Eat fruit instead of baked dessert, slightly harder but doable. Quit smoking: very difficult, but doable with the right support structures.

4) “A promise as a policymaker to support policies that promote healthy heart”

Lack of good initiatives from the government is also among the causes of increased morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases. If you are in any position to uplift the heart health status - do it for yourself, for family, for society and for the country.

Make a fresh start: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the Fit India Movement to promote better health for all. See what you can do at the level of the residents' welfare association, the district level or the state level.

5) “A promise as an employer to invest in heart-healthy workplaces”

The world over, employers are realising that a happy and healthy workforce is a more productive workforce.

Work-life imbalance and stress at the office are both contributing to the rise of lifestyle disorders such as hypertension and diabetes in India.

Make a fresh start: From better human-resource policies to small things like setting up a corporate gym account (exercise releases endorphins that make people happy), there are many things Indian employers can do to help people lead fulfilling lives - at home and work.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For help convincing a friend or family member to quit smoking, please read our article on the Disadvantages of Smoking and the Benefits of Quitting.

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