Year-long drive for schools on prevention of heart diseases

New Delhi: Seeking to inculcate healthy lifestyle among the youth and raise awareness about coronary diseases, city-based National Heart Institute (NHI) on Tuesday kicked off a year-long outreach programme, as part of which it will target at least one school in Delhi-NCR per week.

“The programmes are aimed at raising awareness on prevention of heart diseases in the early years of life, given the unhealthy lifestyle of a majority of the population on Tuesday, including children.

“At present, students of grades 8 and 10 are being trained on topics such as prevention of lifestyle diseases, personal and menstrual hygiene, and CPR,” an official of NHI said.

National Heart Institute is the research and referral tertiary care heart hospital of the All India Heart Foundation, which acts as a nucleus for diagnosis and treatment of heart ailments and allied diseases.

The programme is being held as part of the 35th anniversary of NHI. The first event was organised today at Amity International School, Pushp Vihar and the second will be held in Amity International School, Saket on Wednesday, the official said.

“The institute will be organising school education programmes in one school in Delhi-NCR every week for the next one year, as part of a massive effort to raise preventive health awareness,” she said.

Coronary heart disease is one of the major problems facing Indians on Tuesday. The prevalence and risk of death due to a heart disease is “four times higher” in Indians than in people from other parts of the world, according to NHI.

“High-stress levels due to work pressure, early smoking, drinking, and unhealthy eating habits are all responsible for the early onset of heart disease. Earlier, heart disease was only prevalent in people aged, above 40-50 years but today those as young as in their late 20s and early 30s are falling prey to this disease.

“Children in their school-going years are very receptive and vulnerable and therefore, this is the right time and age to educate them on such issues and how to prevent them. The school education programme is the first step towards this,” CEO & Chief Cardiac Surgeon, NHI, Dr O P Yadava, said, on the occasion.

Though there exist risk factors in the population of other countries, they have been able to slow this pattern by incorporating lifestyle changes and eating healthy. However, this cannot be said of a developing country like India, the Institute said.