Nigerians have been urged to shun unhealthy life styles with a view to prevent heart related diseases such as heart failure. This call was made during a One-Day Grassroots Cardiovascular Health Programme at Dolphin Senior Secondary school, Sabo Lagos Island organised by Chike Okoli Foundation in partnership with Lagos State Ministry of Education.
Addressing over 1000 students of the school including their teachers, Programme Coordinator of the Foundation, Ms Beauty Alfred stressed the need for Nigerians to adopt healthy eating habits as studies have shown inherent dangers in the consumption of unhealthy food on the heart.
Alfred who further examined the significance of the programme said it was anchored on the fact that the youths are the most vulnerable group due to their unhealthy eating habits and lifestyles, which they are most times, ignorant of the grave consequences.
The programme coordinator listed some of risk factors of heart diseases to include bad diet, smoking, fatty foods, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, stress, depression, obesity, cloudy climate, excessive consumption of red meat, as well as individuals with family history.
She said: "We are here to create awareness about cardiovascular disease and ensuring that students live a healthier life style. It is important that as teenagers and youths, they understand that they need to watch what they eat and drink. Sugar and fat intake should be reduced to the barest minimum and they should also learn to exercise regularly.
"Fried and fatty foods should be discouraged as much as possible so that at least if they cannot control what their children eat outside they can control what they consume at home."she added.
In her remarks, the School Principal, Mrs. Fajulugbe Olapeju commended the Foundation for its passion to eradicate heart disease among Nigerians.
Olapeju said the importance of awareness creation for heart disease can not be underestimated given the number of lives it had taken in the past few years.
According to her, some people know what to eat but can't eat it while others don't know what to eat because of ignorance. The Principal said if people can take good diet, exercise and avoid stress, the incidence of heart failure, diabetes and obesity will be put to an end.
While urging the people to take more of natural food to be able to live well, she charged the students to take the message home to their parents.
The Chike Okoli Foundation was established six years ago in memory of Edward Chike Okoli, who died of Coronary heart failure at the age of 25 years as a successful entrepreneur after establishing an oil and gas firm. Since inception 2006, the Foundation has been reaching out to schools, media houses, traffic areas and other organisations to create awareness and reduce causes of diseases.