Recent reports from the British Heart Foundation revealed what seems an extremely ironic development; in an era when people are living as much as 30 or 40 years longer than they did a couple hundred years ago, a large proportion of children in the current generation may not even outlive their parents.
That startling prediction results from research conducted by BHF in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the first report ever published that specifically addresses the statistics and causes of coronary heart disease amongst the UK’s children and young adults. The report came out back in August of this year, and the BHF committed £1.2 to an expansion of its “Hearty Lives” programme as a start on combating this growing problem.
Data showed that almost a third of kids and teens are overweight or obese, and a large majority of them were eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones. They also found that only a small percentage of kids were getting even the minimum recommended exercise – the couch potato syndrome in full force.
One conclusion from the research was that something had better be done to change the trend, or the reduction in cardiovascular disease in adults, which has been observed over the past 50 years, could easily be reversed. As the BHF’s chief executive Simon Gillespie remarked, “It really is as stark as that. If that isn’t a wake-up call, then what is?”
Further conclusions from the research stated that the problem is worse for under-privileged and under-educated children in poorer communities, and Hearty Lives is aimed at improving the lives, both current and future, of those most at risk for debilitating or fatal diseases due to poor nutrition and lack of exercise. BHF is working with local authorities and health organisations, NHS and politicians to promote healthier habits in kids and in the general population.
Just a few of the current projects include funding lifestyle coaches, going into partnership with local football clubs to sponsor health and fitness programmes for kids and men at risk of heart disease, and running weight management courses. Go to http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/ for information about how your community can get involved.