Heart health

Mairead McGuinness1117 views

While this week’s survey on the nation’s health reveals that obesity levels in Ireland have fallen slightly, they are still much too high at 60%. The Healthy Ireland survey said four out of five people surveyed reported good health, but a further look at findings showed a low take-up of exercise, particularly amongst men.

Surveys such as this, which involved 7,500 households, are a good reminder to be more health aware every day.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis in Brussels to highlight the need to raise greater awareness about heart disease ahead of World Heart Day.

Scientific evidence shows that physical activity, a balanced diet and a good environment are all vital factors for a healthy heart.

While there have been wonderful advancements in medicine that have helped us treat heart disease and prolong life, unfortunately our own bad habits are damaging our health.

Trans fats, those produced industrially from plant oils and include some margarines and snack foods, are a serious worry.

There is now no ambiguity about the dangers of trans fats. Recent research published in the British Medical Journal has found that these industrially produced trans fats are linked to much greater risk of death and disease, a 34pc increase in mortality and a 28pc increase in coronary heart disease.

At an EU level, we are looking at possible ways to combat the presence of trans fats in foods to improve the health of our citizens. Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the number one killer in Ireland.

CVD causes over 10,000 deaths daily, more than all cancers combined. For more information on how to improve your heart health, visit: