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Minister welcomes Blood Pressure Awareness Week

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Social Development & Employment

10 September 2008 Media Statement

Minister welcomes Blood Pressure Awareness Week

"Strokes are the most common cause of adult impairment in New Zealand with over 57,000 people having suffered a stroke," said Ruth Dyson, Minister for Social Development & Employment.

"Blood Pressure Awareness week aims to raise the level of awareness and encourage New Zealanders to take positive action and reduce the possibility of having a stroke," said Ms Dyson.

• 1 in 10 adults over 75 years old have had a stroke.
• The prevalence increases with age.
• There are a number of risk factors for stroke and many of these are manageable. Smoking and diabetes increases risk, as does diets. A high salt and fat intake, low levels of physical exercise and excess alcohol all contribute to increased risk of stroke and they are all modifiable.
• High blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes.

The Government is currently undertaking a range of positive actions to prevent strokes through a number of programmes such as;
• Green prescriptions, which encourage health professionals to provide written advice to a patient to be physically active.
• Healthy Eating, Healthy Action provides a strategic approach to improving nutrition and increasing physical activity.
• Tobacco control continues work to achieve three key objectives: reducing smoking initiation, increase quitting and reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.

"The benefits of managing high blood pressure are significant. Reducing blood pressure reduces the risk of stokes and Blood Pressure Awareness Week will raise public awareness," said Ms Dyson.


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