World Heart Day message -Minister stresses importance of healthy lifestyles


Minister LarueThis comes in Minister Larue’s message on the occasion of World Heart Day which falls tomorrow.
The full text of Minister Larue’s message reads:

”Tomorrow, September 29, is World Heart Day. The theme chosen for this year’s World Heart Day is ‘Women, Children and Heart Disease’.

“The theme is aimed at encouraging initiatives to improve healthy habits by everyone in the population, especially certain groups of the population which are sometimes left aside.

Every year, 17 million lives are lost by heart disease and stroke and this number is expected to increase to 23 million by 2030.

“The increasing number of deaths is a tragedy, particularly because the majority of these deaths could be prevented by simple measures. These lifestyle measures include a healthy diet, regular physical activity and avoidance of tobacco use.

“Many still think that heart disease and stroke only affect older persons and affluent individuals. In fact, cardiovascular disease affects as many women as men and heart disease is actually the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 female deaths.

“A focus on children is also very important. The risk for cardiovascular disease actually begins before birth during the development of the fetus and this risk increases further during childhood with accumulated exposure of unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and smoking.  Such issues must be addressed by appropriate policy because children have little control over their environment and have limited options with regard to heart-healthy behaviours.

“In Seychelles deaths due to heart attacks and strokes accounts for as many as 40% of all deaths every year. Cardiovascular disease is not only a threat to health of individuals but also a matter of concern to development of the country. Just as we cannot hide obesity, we cannot hide the huge costs of these diseases to our economy and society.

“Our government has not been inactive. It has taken the problem of cardiovascular diseases seriously for the past decades. There are some achievements to highlight; for example the prevalence of smoking in the population is on the decrease because of the implementation of strong measures such as ban on smoking in all public places, workplaces and in schools; recent analysis has shown that the rates of stroke and MI (heart attack) mortality has decreased during the past 20 years in Seychelles. In spite of these, a few issues remain very pertinent and of great concern. Obesity is becoming a main health issue in the country. Obesity is the main cause of diabetes and a contributing cause of hypertension and heart disease. We need to strengthen our policies in various sectors to better enable a healthy diet and regular physical activity by all.

We are working on measures to limit the sale of food and beverages of low or no nutritional value in all schools, but we will also need to address economic and other interventions to effectively promote the production and availability of healthy foods for all and discourage unhealthy ones. The Ministry of Health and other sectors in government are committed to creating an enabling environment that is conducive to good heart health.

“Every one of us has the responsibility to make the efforts to control our risk factors. The importance of exercising regularly, abstaining from smoking and have a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables, favouring water over soft drinks, and limiting fats and sugars cannot be overemphasised.

“Prevention is better than cure; let us all actively live this simple truth.”