The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Children

A heart disease death has risen in the country by 34% over last 26 years.  This has happened despite intensive media campaign on prevention of coronary artery diseases (CAD). So the question comes where we have gone wrong?

One of the most important factors that we have ignored so far is the growing of childhood obesity in India. Childhood obesity is the root of all evils – Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, i.e., all those factors that lead to CAD. We all know that this can be controlled by minimizing junk food intake and increasing physical activity. Unfortunately, according to the India Fast Food market report, the sale of junk food is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% between 2016 and 2020. It had already doubled in size between 2013 and 2016, to $1.12 billion, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Moreover, National Institute of Nutrition in 2011 has shown that the amount of harmful contents in such foods, i.e., sugar, salt and fat, are much higher than even the highest level set by the Food Safety and Standardization Authority of India.

Situation gets more complicated once these obese children step into their youth hood. India’s youth (15-44years) population is already 1.2 billion, the largest on the planet, and obviously is set to grow further. Such youth population is more prone to use tobacco and alcohol, both of which when added to obesity, compounds the risk of CAD. Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 showed a prevalence of tobacco use of 12.4% among Indian youth and consumption of alcoholic beverages is set to increase from 5.38 to 6.35 billion liters between 2016 and 2020. Therefore it is not a surprise that India is set to be the global capital of CAD by 2025.

So the only way to prevent the growing epidemic of CAD is to spread awareness among the children. The Cardiological Society of India (CSI), the apex body of the Indian cardiologists, has undertaken an awareness project encompassing 1,78,676 students and 6944 teachers of 2762 schools in West Bengal regarding simple preventive life-style measures based on the booklet “TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR CREATING HEART HEALTHY HOMES” released by it on 2015. Apart from the direct reach, the indirect reach – parents/siblings of the participating students and other students taught by the participating teachers- of the program was approximately 5.55 lakhs. At follow-up as much as 37% of the population showed positive change regarding adoption of healthy life-style.

 The first World Heart Day was celebrated in 2000 in the whole world by World Heart Federation to resist the Epidemic of the Heart Disease. After 18 years, today it is seen that it is not so fruitful in our country. But continuous mass awareness campaign is necessary and if the future generation, our children will aware from this time, they will be the Health ambassador of every home to resist the lifestyle diseases. To achieve this goal, CSI had organized this program of Children in the morning of World Heart Day at Rashmanch Swabhumi Kolkata. About 600 Children of different schools of Kolkata had participated in the program by releasing thousands of heart-shaped balloons followed by an inter-school Seat & Draw Competition.

Shri Shibprasad Mukhopadhyay and Shrimati Nandita Roy, the renowned film makers of Bengali film Industries l inaugurated the program as the Chief Guest  in the presence of DR. Debabrato Roy, DR Arunangshu Ganguly, DR Mk Das and DR. Soumitra Kumar, the renowned cardiologists of the country.

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