Wake up Malaysia. Don’t let your heart health fall by the wayside. This year, Anlene’s Heart Smart workshop recognises World Heart Day by educating Malaysians adults on the importance of heart health: Eat Smart, Move Smart, Sleep Smart.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death in Malaysia, accounting for over 13.2% of deaths in a 2017 report.
‘Not only is it taking the lives of many Malaysians,’ says Megawati Suzari, New Product Development, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Director at Fonterra Brands Malaysia, ‘but cardiovascular disease is affecting more young people too. Do not think that heart problems are a worry for the elderly only.’
Nearly one in four patients with heart problems are under 50 years old . The mean age of patients in Malaysia is 58.5 years old, compared to 63.5 years old in Thailand and between 68.3 – 69.2 years old in Singapore. This means that Malaysians are, on average, suffering heart disease at much younger ages than neighbouring countries.
Most people know that the risk factors of poor heart health include smoking habits, sedentary lifestyles and poor diets. As Malaysia has an abundance of food choices, people pay less attention to a healthy diet. When coupled with sedentary lifestyles, this may contribute to the development of obesity and ‘the 3 highs’: high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Statistics have shown that 46.6% of Malaysian men and 48.9% of Malaysian women are either overweight or obese. ‘A balanced diet is one of the cornerstones of a healthy heart,’ says Megawati. ‘Although we know we should ensure proper nutrition, few of us make it a point to do so.’
Datuk Dr. Sanjiv Joshi, Consultant Cardiologist at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, agrees on the critical role of the Malaysian diet. ‘Some of our favourite Malaysian dishes contain plenty of trans fatty acids and saturated fats ,’ says Datuk Dr. Sanjiv, ‘all of which can elevate blood cholesterol level, leading to plaque build-up in the blood vessels. Excessive intake of food high in fats may contribute to blockage and cause a heart attack when the blood cannot flow to the heart.’
‘Diet is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for heart disease , which is why this World Heart Day workshop by Anlene matters. It is an important reminder to impart to young Malaysians, who may be exposed to an unhealthy diet. The most vital message to send is that health is a lifelong journey, beginning while you are young.’
‘Cardiovascular disease is a problem that could stem from years of not giving your heart the attention it deserves,’ added Megawati. ‘So listen to your heart now, while you can – ensure you have proper nutrition. Be heart smart.’
The Anlene Heart Smart workshop comes to Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur on the 22nd of September this year. The ultimate question it poses is: ‘How do I be smart about my heart?’. Participants will be invited to explore how to Eat Smart, Move Smart and Sleep Smart to best care for their heart, as well as learn of the benefits of nutritional products such as Anlene Heart Plus.