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Gisborne and Porirua to pilot campaign

Gisborne and Porirua to pilot heart disease campaign

People in Gisborne and Porirua are the first to be involved in the pilot of a campaign that aims to cut New Zealand’s high rates of cardiovascular disease.

The One Heart Many Lives campaign was launched today with a series of community events in both Gisborne and Porirua. The pilot is set to run for 3 months and is being funded and co-ordinated by Government drug-funding agency PHARMAC.

“Cardiovascular disease is the single biggest killer of New Zealanders,” says PHARMAC Medical Director Peter Moodie.

“The aim of this campaign will be to encourage people to embrace the sort of lifestyle changes that can cut down their risk of suffering a cardiac event, such as a heart attack or stroke. This can include such things as eating a healthier diet, becoming more physically active or stopping smoking.”

Dr Moodie says there are a number of factors which are known to increase the risk of a heart attacks and stroke such as raised cholesterol, raised blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, being overweight and a lack of physical activity. Reducing or eliminating these factors can reduce the chance of a person suffering a cardiac event.

The campaign, which has the support of organisations such as the Heart Foundation, Sport and Recreation NZ and Quitline, is aimed at raising awareness of cardiovascular risk and encouraging people to consult their health professional to discuss their risk factors.

The campaign is primarly aimed at men aged over 45. Maori and Pacific people have higher than average rates of cardiovascular disease which is partly why the Gisborne and Porirua areas have been selected as pilot regions for the campaign.

“We want to get the message across that there are positive steps people can take to reduce the chances of them suffering a heart attack or stroke,” Dr Moodie adds.

“Once this pilot has been run it will be assessed, and potentially it could be rolled out nationally.”

Key facts:

Cardiovascular risk is a measure of the likelihood that a person will experience some sort of cardiac event, such as heart attack or stroke, in their lifetime.

Risk factors include obesity, a high fat diet, inactivity, smoking, raised blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

Cardiovascular disease is the biggest single killer of New Zealanders today, and is one of the priority areas identified in the Government’s New Zealand Health Strategy 2000.

The One Heart Many Lives campaign addresses priority areas, such as reducing obesity, increasing levels of physical exercise, reducing the impact of diabetes, increasing physical activity, reducing smoking, and improving nutrition.

Risk groups are primarily those over 45, with proportionally a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease among Maori and Pacific communities. Maori and Pacific peoples are a key target group for this campaign. Reducing cardiovascular risk can have flow-on effects for other areas of healthcare, for example in reducing hospital admissions for cardiovascular events.

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