By Dr.Nimali Fernando
Today we celebrate World Heart Day. This was founded in 2000 to make people aware that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death claiming 17.3 million lives each year. This year the theme of the world heart day is “Power your life”. To power our lives we have to keep our hearts healthy. By avoiding the four modifiable risk factors which are Tobacco Use, Unhealthy Diet, Harmful use of Alcohol and Physical Inactivity premature death from cardio vascular disease could be avoided. So this is a perfect day to quit smoking get exercising and
start eating healthy.
As the child is the father of the man we need to inculcate the values of proper eating habits, abstinence from alcohol and smoking and the necessity for exercise from child hood. The parents need to play a major role in the diet of the child. They should be aware of the value of vegetables and fruits and know how to prepare a healthy balanced meal for the family. This means at least 05 portions of fruits and vegetables per day (a portion is 80 grams). Fried and battered foods pies cakes should be avoided as they are rich in transfatty acids .Children should also be taught what the heart healthy foods are and these should be freely available to them instead of
Parents need to exercise with their children and make it a family event whenever possible. Moderate intensity exercise is heart healthy and 150 minutes of exercise should be carried out for a week. Sports activities should be encouraged in school and at home.
Children are exposed to tobacco and alcohol at a young age. By the time children understand the gravity of these evils they are already addicted. We need to work with the Education Ministry to educate school children on the hazards of tobacco and alcohol. Banning smoking in public places and having liquor-free days need to be strictly adhered to. Organizations which help people with alcohol problems need to be given more prominence and people should be encouraged to
seek their help.
As prevention is better than cure we should join hands to prevent this epidemic engulfing our
future generation. The Sri Lanka Heart Association which is a member of the World Heart Federation has planned several events on the 2nd of October in its endeavor to fight cardio vascular disease. It starts with a walk commencing at Vihara Maha Devi Park at 07.00 am. It will be followed by demonstrations on Yoga Exercises, Aerobic exercises, lectures on health cooking home gardening and other heart
Come and share with us the experience and knowledge so that you will be able to power your life.
(Dr. Nimali Fernando (MBBS, MD, FCCP) is Consultant Cardiologist National Hospital Of Sri Lanka and President Elect- Sri Lanka Heart Association)