Heart Health Starts Earlier than You Think

Photo: Heart and stethoscope

On average, people believe 32.2
years is the age to take action
about their heart health;
© panthermedia.net/oksix

A new multi-national survey reveals the extent of misconceptions about when is the right time to start taking action to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). In a four-country survey sample of 4,000 adults, 49 per cent answered age 30 years or older when asked at what age they believe people should start to take action about their heart health to prevent conditions such as heart disease and stroke. The fact is that CVD can affect people of all ages and population groups, and the risk begins early in life through unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity and exposure to tobacco.

“The fact is that good heart health starts from childhood. We have an opportunity to change the course of CVD and its global impact, by encouraging and supporting heart-healthy living from an early age. On World Heart Day, over 150 countries are joining together to encourage individuals, families, communities and governments to take action to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke amongst women and children,” said Professor Sidney C. Smith Jr.

The new multi-national survey conducted in Brazil, India, UK and the USA by the World Heart Federation reveals that:

• On average, people believe 32.2 years is the age to take action about their heart health

• By this age, the average heart will have beaten 1.3 billion times, about half of its life expectancy

• Only one-quarter (26 per cent) of mothers believe young people under 20 years need to take action

• Men aged 40 years and over are most likely to think it’s OK to delay taking action, believing an average age of 37.3 years is the time to start caring for heart health

CVD risk factors such as physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, overweight/obesity and tobacco use can have lifelong consequences for men, women and children. During foetal development, maternal malnutrition, both under- and over- nutrition, can increase the chances of developing future risk factors associated with CVD. Children who have a birth weight of less than 2.5 kilograms have approximately double the risk of dying prematurely from coronary heart disease1. For expectant mothers, CVD can present a double burden – protecting the heart health of their unborn child and protecting themselves against the risk of CVD, as heart disease is the world’s number one killer, affecting 1 in 3 women worldwide.

MEDICA.de; Source: World Heart Federation