Organised by the Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF), the family-friendly carnival to celebrate World Heart Day this year saw the attendance of more than 5,000 participants. Centered on the theme of ‘Healthy Heart Choices for Everyone, Everywhere’, the activities lined-up for the day underscored how effortless it is for everyone to make sustainable lifestyle choices at home and at work, to reduce the risk factors of heart disease and stroke. The event was graced by Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong.

sandwich-making competition
(Left to right): Mr Gan Kim Yong, Mr Venon Kang and Professor Terrance Chua having a chat with a participant during the sandwich-making competition

In 2014, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke, accounted for 29.9% of all deaths in Singapore. This means that nearly 1 out of 3 deaths is due to CVD, making it the top killer in the nation.

Spotlight placed on reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure
But CVD is largely preventable if one makes the conscious effort to reduce and possibly eliminate smoking, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets – all of which are controllable risk factors.

“This year, SHF would like to focus the public’s attention especially on high blood pressure. Also known as the silent killer, because it has minimal or no symptoms until it is too late, stroke or heart attack can strike suddenly in patients with high blood pressure. It is important to know that treating high blood pressure can prevent these sudden catastrophic tragedies. However, because patients have no symptoms, they are either unaware that they have high blood pressure, or even if they are aware, do not realise the need to be treated because they feel well, until disaster strikes”, said Professor Terrance Chua, Chairman of the Singapore Heart Foundation.

To create greater awareness for the need to proactively check one’s blood pressure regularly and to advocate on the optimal blood pressure readings – less than 130mmHg for systolic and less than 80mmHg for diastolic readings – Singapore Heart Foundation debuted a short film, titled “I love you, Grandpa”, starring veteran actor, Mr Zhu Hou Ren. This is a poignant story of family ties that bind and of a boy’s unconditional love for his grandfather, who loves to eat unhealthy food despite constant reminders from his family members.

The film can be viewed via SHF’s social media channels from 3 Oct 2015 onwards – website, Facebook and YouTube.

SHF MEGA Heart and other highlights at World Heart Day
Also making its debut at World Heart Day this year is the Singapore Heart Foundation’s MEGA Heart, a larger-than-life inflatable walk-through heart exhibition. A highly interactive and educational experience, visitors were offered a magnified glimpse into the human heart chambers, where they learnt about the different parts, functions as well as the type of heart diseases and treatments.

MEGA Heart Exhibit
Singapore Heart Foundation’s MEGA Heart Exhibit

Other highlights at the carnival included a 1km ‘Walk for Life’ brisk walk in the morning; Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance workout; sandwich making competition; educational events such as CPR + AED course which certified 50 participants, nutri-educational exhibition and heart-health quizzes; free cardiac risk assessment and dental screening for registered participants.

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