The Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) says 80 per cent of premature deaths from heart diseases can be addressed if tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and air pollution are controlled.
Addressing a news conference on behalf of the NHF to commemorate 2022 World Heart Day in Lagos, Mrs Dolapo Coker, Member, Nutrition Committee of the foundation, stressed the need to address carbon emissions by the government to reduce cardiovascular diseases.
Coker, a former President, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, said that heart diseases remained the number one cause of death worldwide, claiming 18.6 million lives per year.
She said that the World Heart Foundation (WHF) was calling for urgent action on climate change and health inequity, saying millions more lives now at risk from cardiovascular disease, “which is still the world’s biggest killer.”
“2022 has seen historic heat waves and, with climate change disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable populations, we can expect a further widening of the gap in global cardiovascular healthcare equity.
“Climate change and related air pollution is already responsible for 25% of all deaths from cardiovascular disease, killing 7 million people annually.
Outing Prof. Fausto Pinto, President of WHF, Coker said:“Millions of already vulnerable people are doubly exposed to extreme weather events and limited access to healthcare.
“World leaders must step up efforts on the two biggest threats of our time: climate change and global health inequity.”
Coker said that working hand in hand with the World Health Organisation (WHO), WHF was Calling on governments, civil society, and global industry to meet net-zero targets, to tackle global warming and curb air pollution, and to deliver healthcare access for all .
“A new global survey by WHF highlights the global concern surrounding the link between climate change and cardiovascular disease with climate change and air pollution ranked as the third most serious issue in relation to cardiovascular health among the respondents.
“The survey also revealed that awareness of healthcare inequality is growing: in reply to a question about which global issues affected cardiovascular disease the most the second.
“The second most common answer was social inequality and access to healthcare.
“WHF is also urging healthcare providers to help improve cardiovascular health and prevent CVD mortality by issuing regular reminders to at-risk groups about the dangers of extreme weather events, including tips on managing excessive heat events.”
She commended all partner in the fight against Heart Diseases and promotion of healthy lifestyles in Nigeria.
In his goodwill message, Mr Foluso Ogunwale, the Chief Executive Officer, I Fitness, who described heart as most important organ in the body, decried prevalence of harmful lifestyles and physical inactivity among many Nigerians.
“If the heart is that much important, it means that at one point we need to match the brake and examine how we live over lives so that we can perhaps live a happy and healthier life.
“The issue of physical health, physical exercise and the issue of nutrition and harmful lifestyles that potentially cause heart diseases can be addressed,” Ogunwale said.
Another NHF’s partner, Quest Oil Group said that the issue of heart health was a concern to the firm, hence the commitment to address carbon emissions to reduce heart risks.
Its Corporate Communications and Branding Manager Mr Gerald Moore, said: “For us at Quest Oil, we believe that good health is good business and that is why we innovatively changed the energy mix that we provide our customers.
“We now have different systems that can change from fuel to gas. We have gas as our transition fuel. We also provide LPG which is cleaner fuel.
“We also started something innovative in our stations, which is to replace the existing fuel generators with the solar power system.
“We believe that will significantly reduce the carbon emissions and give out stakeholders the opportunity for a better health,’ Moore said.
In her remarks, Wife of Lagos State governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said it was extremely important that people desist from unhealthy lifestyles to build heathy population which in turn would enhance productivity in the state.
Mrs Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mrs Patience Ogunnubi, Member, Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, said that the increase in the statistics of cardiovascular disease called for comprehensive approach and strategy to ensure that people were aware of the serious threat that the disease posed.
She said that people must embrace deliberate lifestyles and choice that can help to address the trend.
The NHF has outlined a month long activities to mark the 2022 World Heart Day which includes bike a Heart Route (cycling rides), medical health talks and check, walks, mini health exhibitions, distribution of fliers and i Fitness exercise.