A resounding 98 percent of the 1, 500 South Africans polled at the start of the new year have pledged to take drastic steps in order to give heart disease the boot!
The public poll forms part of Pharma Dynamics’ national Hug your Heart campaign, launched in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSF) to shine the spotlight on heart-health.
This year’s focus is on how making certain lifestyle changes could avert heart disease – a condition which claims the lives of more than 78, 475 Mzansians annually.
“Our survey results point to a positive change in consumer attitudes toward heart-health with a whopping 99 percent of participants acknowledging the link between unhealthy lifestyle behaviours and heart disease. Even though the majority vowed to take charge of their own heart-health, a disappointing 36 didn’t see the need to. Some (42 percent) said it’s too difficult to keep up a healthy lifestyle, while 14 percent felt they were too old for it to have any effect,” she said.
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The good news is that the majority of SA men and women are serious about making changes for the sake of their hearts:
71 percent pledged to eat right by limiting junk food, confectionary (desserts) and sugary soft drinks
66 percent is going to exercise more regularly (at least 3 times a week)
65 percent promised to drink more water (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)
53 percent is going to limit their intake of processed food, such as cold meats (ham, salami, paté etc) and convenience foods, such as ready-made microwave meals
50 percent will get their blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol tested annually
49 percent pledged to sleep at least 8 hours or more per night
48 percent said they would cut back on salt (a high daily sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure)
45 percent will make a point of reading food labels and buy foods that are low in
41 percent aims to reach and/or maintain a healthy weight goal
40 percent will try to reduce cholesterol (should diet and exercise alone not reduce cholesterol, ask your doctor to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication since high cholesterol heightens your risk of a heart attack)
39 percent will cut down on alcohol intake
36 percent will reduce their intake of red meat
36 percent is going to manage stress by applying relaxation techniques
28 percent will quit smoking cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat
28 percent aims to improve their time-management skills to help juggle work and family demands better, which will help ease unnecessary strain on the heart
24 percent promised to seek help for depression and anxiety as these conditions puts one at greater risk of heart disease
According to research, the five most harmful habits include tobacco smoking, lack of physical activity, being overweight, not eating right and drinking too much alcohol. The reality is that up to 70 percent of heart disease and stroke cases can be prevented by simply living a healthier lifestyle.
The challenging part however is to stick to these health resolutions. Rather than going all out, set yourself achievable goals, which is a key strategy for successful, long-term change. Secondly, track your progress every day – whether it’s via a health or fitness app, device or notebook.
Lastly, identify a support network, such as friends, family or an online community that will keep you motivated, when you’re tempted to throw in the towel.
To help generate social engagement and much-needed funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, Pharma Dynamics will be donating R100 , 000 to the organisation as part of the #hugyourheart campaign.
The public is also encouraged to donate any amount via SnapScan. Donors can visit www.hugyourheart.co.za and simply scan the QR code on the home page and donate the amount they wish.