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New steps to tackle worsening Asian heart health

New steps to tackle worsening Asian heart health

The Heart Foundation is taking action to help address the declining heart health of Asians living in New Zealand, as indicated by concerning statistics.

A recently-published study, ‘Asian Health in Aotearoa in 2011-2013: Trends since 2002-2003 and 2006-2007’*, shows cardiovascular disease and diabetes rates are higher among Asian people compared to New Zealand European. This is particularly so for South Asians, who have a much higher prevalence of treatment for hypertension and high cholesterol.

Obesity prevalence in New Zealand Asian adults rose from 26% to 44% during the period 2002 to 2013. The results also showed that Asian adults were less likely to be physically active and more likely to be sedentary than New Zealand European adults.

Heart Foundation Food and Nutrition Manager, Dave Monro, says fruit and vegetable consumption is worryingly low in Asian populations, with more than half of adults and nearly two thirds of children not meeting the recommended daily serves.

“In light of these concerning statistics, the Heart Foundation is translating a number of its most popular resources into Asian languages,” says Dave.

“We want to help the Asian population improve their heart health, but we know that the best approach needs to be language and culturally-appropriate. We have in the past created Asian-specific resources and health tool kits, but we’re now starting to step up our efforts in this area.”

New resources we’re making available for health workers and the general public include:

• Lunchbox resource in Hindi and Chinese

• Healthy Heart Visual Food Guide in Hindi and Chinese

• Healthy Heart Visual Food Guide Simple Steps in Chinese and Hindi

• Heart awareness resources on diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, in Hindi, Chinese and Korean.

Dave says the Heart Foundation will be using its relationships with schools and early childhood services, medical practitioners, and Healthy Families NZ to ensure as wide a reach as possible.

“In addition to these resources, we’re looking at focusing our efforts on early intervention, by helping schools and early learning services create environments that encourage physical activity and healthy eating.

“Giving children the best possible start – whatever their culture or ethnicity – sets them up with lifelong healthy eating patterns, thereby reducing their future risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.”

* Scragg, R. Asian Health in Aotearoa in 2011-2013: Trends since 2002-2003 and 2006-2007. Auckland: Northern Regional Alliance Ltd, 2016.


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