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‘We are eating ourselves into an early grave’, charity warns

Vulnerable: younger people are suffering from heart-related conditions (Photograph supplied)

Younger residents are being urged to change their lifestyles to avoid premature heart disease.

The Bermuda Heart Foundation made the plea ahead of Heart Month, which runs through February.

Simone Barton, the charity’s chief executive officer, said that heart disease was the island’s top killer and feared that younger people were increasingly becoming victims because of a poor diet and a lack of exercise.

Ms Barton claimed: “Bermudians are dying younger and younger each year due to inactivity and poor food choices. We are literally eating ourselves into an early grave.”

She said: “A high percentage of the population consumes vast amounts of fat-laden processed foods and does little to no exercise.

“The combination of fast, greasy food and physical activity limited to a walk to the car, or picking up a TV remote will guarantee severe heart conditions in the future.”

The claim was backed up by a senior heart doctor.

Joseph Yammine, a consultant cardiologist at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, said that, while statistics were not available, more younger people were suffering from heart-related conditions.

Dr Yammine said that one reason for the apparent increase was that advances in technology and awareness meant that more congenital anomalies were being identified or diagnosed.

But he added: “Unfortunately cardiac conditions that are classically seen in adults like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes, sleep apnoea, and even arrhythmia are being reported more in children because of poor lifestyle.”

The Bermuda Heart Foundation has tips on helping your heart

• Eating a balanced diet can help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check. Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Limit unhealthy fats, which can raise your cholesterol, and opt instead for healthier fats such as fish, nuts and olive oil. Also, limit your sodium intake to keep your blood pressure in check.

• Regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Exercise helps keep your weight in check, keeps your cholesterol and blood pressure in check, improves your circulation, and reduces stress levels. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week.

• Talk to your doctor to understand your risk, or guidance from nutritional counselling or reach out to programmes like CORE Heart Health Centre, the one-stop location for cardiac prevention and rehabilitation centre that focuses on chronic diseases management and education.

Ms Barton pointed out that the vast majority of heart disease cases were preventable – if a healthier lifestyle was adopted.

She said: “This includes eating a healthy, balanced diet that is low in saturated fats and salt, exercising regularly, not smoking, and limiting the amount of alcohol consumed. By making such changes, we can reduce our risk of heart disease significantly.

“If you continue making poor food and lifestyle choices, you can say goodbye to your health, and you will sorely miss it when it’s gone.

“Living a healthy life does not mean you have to give up the foods you love; you just need to manage how you move and the foods you consume appropriately.

She said: “The world is affected by a variety of illnesses that are beyond our ability to treat, but heart disease is not one of them.

“We must do our part if we are ever going to stem the tide that is overwhelming us all physically, financially and emotionally.”

For more information, call the Bermuda Heart Foundation on 232 2673 or click here.

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Published January 25, 2023 at 2:33 pm (Updated January 25, 2023 at 2:33 pm)

‘We are eating ourselves into an early grave’, charity warns

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