On World Heart Day (Sept. 29), the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is urging the adoption of healthy living habits during childhood to prevent heart disease and other health problems in later life.
Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes, are the leading cause of death worldwide and in most countries of the Americas, where they claim some 1.9 million lives each year. Following a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity, and avoiding tobacco use can prevent these diseases.
“Take theroad to a healthy heart” is the theme of this year’s World Heart Day campaign, which is led by the World Heart Federation and directed primarily at mothers, who play a central role in teaching their children healthy habits, and at children, who are becoming overweight and obese in increasing numbers, thanks to what experts refer to as “obesogenic environments.”
Heart disease prevention begins with breastfeeding and continues with healthy nutrition, eating more vegetables, fruits and other unprocessed foods while limiting salt, avoiding trans fats, sugars and tobacco and doing physical activity throughout one’s life.
Obesity, which is on the rise in children, is a leading risk factor for premature illness and death in adults. “If the pattern continues, we will have more and more people suffering from diabetes and hypertention at earlier ages,” said Pedro Orduñez, PAHO advisor on prevention and control of chronic diseases. “Before, we saw obesity-related diabetes at 60 or 70 years of age. Now we’re seeing it in people who are 40 or 50 years old.”
° World Heart Day ( World Health Organization).
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° Join the Forum : World Heart Day, September 29