2014 World Heart Day-take a lunch break walk

On September 29, 2014, as part of this year’s World Heart Day activities, The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center initiated an event at its office building (Horizon Towers) to promote heart health knowledge. Cardiologist from Australia was also invited to participate in the event and communicate with the public.

For those who spend most of their working time sitting at the desks in the office buildings, it is very common to ignore the risk factors of heart disease, for example, unhealthy diets, inadequate activities and smoking, which are actually affecting their cardiovascular system.

In order to draw people’s attention to heart health and advocate a heart-healthy environment, The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center held an health event and encouraged people working at and around the office building to take an outdoor walk during the lunch break. We hope that by making this little change on lifestyle, awareness on heart health can be raised. Salt-control spoon and heart-healthy fruit were also distributed to attract attention. Professor Anushka Patel, Chief Scientist of the George Institute for Global Health, Professor of Medicine at The University of Sydney and cardiologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, attended this event and introduced CVD risk factors and tips to prevent heart diseases. 

“In Australia, CVD is still one of the biggest problems, but over the last 20 years, deaths rates from CVD have steadily declined and continue to do so.” Professor Patel introduced, “This is probably a result of large reductions in smoking rates, but also increased use of preventive treatments such as drugs for blood pressure control and cholesterol lowering. In China, people get CVD at a much younger age and are more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than people in Australia.”

Professor Patel continued, “Maintaining normal body weight via BOTH proper diet and exercise is very important for prevention of CVD. Even if it is difficult to lose weight, exercise has separate benefits in preventing CVD. “

“All the exercise you do in a day adds up, so if you find it difficult to go for a walk, ride a bike, go the a gym or play a sport regularly, it is important to find every other opportunity to exercise. Instead of using lifts, walk up stairs whenever you can. For short trips, try to walk to work rather than driving or taking the subway. If you work in an office, make sure that you stand up and walk around as much as possible. And that’s why we celebrate World Heard Day by inviting people to take a longer walk during lunch break, and will encourage them to do it every day. Every bit of exercise is helpful.”

CVD is no doubt a critical condition; however it is important to understand that CVD is very much preventable. The same principles for preventing CVD apply in all parts of the world – healthy lifestyle (diet, exercise, not smoking) and using preventive medications in some people if they are at high risk.

The government and research organizations should join together to implement researches on how to raise awareness as well as improving the use of effective preventive treatments.

And what’s even more significant, is it needs all of us to play a part and make a change together!