Minister’s World Heart Day message |28 September 2019
‘Healthy habits for a healthier heart’
“Let us make the right choices to look after our heart and the heart of our families and, by doing so, improve our own quality of life and set a good example for the next generation.”
This comes in a message from the Minister for Health, Jean-Paul Adam, on the occasion of World Heart Day which falls tomorrow, September 29.
The full text of Minister Adam’s message reads:
“Today September 29 is World Heart Day. ‘My Heart, Your Heart, make a Promise’ is the theme chosen for this year.
“This year World Heart Day’s theme is aimed at encouraging everyone to improve healthy habits in order to reduce their risk to develop heart disease and stroke.
Cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart attack and stroke, are by far the leading causes of death in the world, killing over 17 million people every year. In Seychelles, heart disease and stroke account for 40% of deaths in both men and women and are a main cause of hospital admissions, disability, and poor quality of life for those affected.
“Cardiovascular diseases are largely caused by unhealthy lifestyles, such as unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol drinking, insufficient physical activity and smoking. Furthermore, these unhealthy practices also largely contribute to other diseases, such as diabetes, respiratory illnesses, renal disease and several types of cancer. However, it doesn’t need to be this way. By making just a few small changes to our lifestyles, we can reduce importantly our risk of heart disease and stroke.
“The government has taken several legislative, regulatory and fiscal measures to better enable people to adopt a heathy lifestyle. This includes having no taxation on healthy food like fruits and vegetables, promoting a smoke free environment in public places and workplaces, promoting healthy foods in school canteens including making water fountains available in all schools, and promoting programmes to encourage physical activity in schools and districts. Recently, a sugar tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB’s) has been introduced to discourage consumption of sugary drinks and promote water drinking, in order to decrease obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the country. It is recognised that additional measures need to be implemented to further promote healthy lifestyle and diet and discourage unhealthy ones. This includes, among others, regulations to reduce the content of salt, sugar and saturated fats in manufactured foods. There is also a need to limit advertising of unhealthy foods and alcohol beverages; promote urban and community shaping that further encourages active mobility by establishing safe sidewalks, walking tracks, cycling and bus lanes; and to further promote availability of free and safe water, such as water fountains in work and public premises.
“Let’s also not forget that high blood pressure is a major risk factor of cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke. As many as 30 percent of all adults in Seychelles have raised blood pressure. While a healthy lifestyle effectively helps maintain one’s blood pressure at normal levels, I cannot overemphasised the importance for people who have hypertension to take regular treatment to prevent cardiovascular diseases. I am proud that Seychelles government has been providing health care and treatment at no cost to all inhabitants of Seychelles for several decades.
“While government is a key actor to promote a healthy environment that encourages people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, as well as quality health care for those who need it, I call upon all individuals again to take responsibility for their health and commit to adopt healthy behaviour. You only stand to benefit, not just in preventing diseases, but in enjoying the thrills of being healthy and productive for yourself, your family and society.
“Let’s cut on the size of our plates and amount of soft drinks and snacks; let’s avoid excess alcohol drinking; let’s refrain from smoking; and let’s walk and exercise more often. Let us make the right choices to look after our heart and the heart of our families and, by doing so, improve our own quality of life and set a good example for the next generation.”