GIS– 03 October 2017: Parents need to inculcate healthy habits in their children by teaching them the importance of having a balanced diet and doing physical exercise regularly. The Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, made this appeal yesterday at the launching of activities to mark World Heart Day 2017 at Dr A. G. Jeetoo Hospital in Port Louis.
The Minister deplored that too many parents neglect their children’s diet and put their health at risk by encouraging them to consume high fat food instead of including enough fruits and vegetables in their meals. He stated that surveys indicate that only 15 to 20% of youths exercise regularly. Dr Husnoo thus urged parents to become role models for their wards by embracing healthy lifestyle and avoiding the factors that trigger cardiovascular diseases such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.
He recalled that cardiovascular diseases were the leading cause of death in Mauritius, accounting for about 2 000 deaths in 2016, and expressed concern at a doubling over a decade in the number of heart surgeries, with figures jumping from 650 in 2006 to reach 1 300 in 2016. He called on the population to be more responsible for their health by adopting appropriate behaviours.
The Minister also expressed his apprehension with the increasing number of young people aged between 30 and 40 who suffer from heart attacks. “Some 20% of patients hospitalised due to a heart attack are aged between 30 and 40, and one can only imagine the great suffering this situation brings to families,” he underlined. Speaking on the theme chosen to mark World Heart Day which is ‘Share the Power’, he stated that real power lies in Mauritians inspiring each other to take action now by sharing health-related information and experiences, and encouraging their neighbour to eat and drink more healthily, to exercise more and to stop smoking.
The decentralisation of health services including cardiac services was also underlined by Dr Husnoo. He appealed to the population to avail of the various facilities and free services provided by Government such as having their blood pressure checked regularly at health care centres. “The Ministry has recruited some 350 additional doctors who have been deployed in health centres across the island in a bid to provide immediate adequate care service to the population, while services provided by the Cardiac Centre in Pamplemousses have been extended to Victoria Hospital,” he added.
For his part, the World Health Organisation representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango, pointed out that cardiovascular diseases kill 17.7 million people every year globally. He also listed out measures that common people can take to better protect their heart such as engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day, eating more fruits and vegetables, and avoiding both tobacco use and alcohol consumption.
World Heart Day 2017
In the context of World Heart Day, observed on 29 September annually, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is organising a series of activities with a view to raising awareness about cardiovascular diseases to reduce cardiovascular risks and improve heart health. These activities comprise screening exercises, talks, and exhibitions on cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors, as well as campaigns on obesity, keep fit, prevention of tobacco use, healthy living.
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