This program takes heart health information to the schools, from primary, secondary, colleges and Universities. We engage the young people, the teachers and their parents raising awareness of the risks and the recommendations to prevent heart disease in later life.
There is an increasing trend of childhood obesity, especially among the rich and middle-class families in urban areas. A study found that 10% of adolescent school children Uganda’s capital Kampala were obese, with obesity being significantly associated with having hypertension.
This has been partly due to changing diets, with many children consuming high fat-containing foods coupled with limited physical activity. Many schools lack playgrounds and devote less time to sports in schools due to competition for good academic grades. In addition, many homes have small compounds that do not allow for adequate play. It is not uncommon to find children glued to the television the whole day as parents are away working.
Prevention of Heart disease starts in childhood; you may have heard the old saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is perfect advice when it comes to heart disease. By teaching the young people to follow a healthy lifestyle, we can help reduce their risk for heart disease later in life.
It is very important to start thinking about heart health beginning in childhood, it’s clear the process doesn’t begin at 35 or 60 years old. The kind of heart problems which relate to the problems adults have don’t really manifest themselves until [the children are] much older, But the seeds of those problems are sown in childhood and adolescence.
Those “seeds” include obesity, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and high blood pressure, which put them at greater risk for early heart attack or stroke. It makes sense to identify these risk factors as early as we can to modify them or eliminate them to reduce children’s risk of developing heart disease in future.
According to the American Heart Association, a heart-healthy diet from an early age lowers cholesterol and if followed through adolescence and beyond, should reduce the risk of coronary artery disease in adulthood. All children older than 2 years should follow a heart-healthy diet, including low-fat dairy products.