Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, and is closely linked to being overweight and physically inactive. Some South Asians are at higher risk of developing heart disease than the general population (2), so it’s vital they understand how their lifestyle affects the risk of getting heart disease.
The Department of Health recommends adults build up to regularly doing 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity a week (3). Yet nearly half (47%) of UK Asians thought the recommended amount was less, with one in five (20%) believing it was just 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity per week (1).
Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the BHF, said: “Lots of people think two and a half hours of being active sounds like a nightmare. But you don’t have to do it all in one go. If you manage 30 minutes five times a week, or even lots of 10 minute bursts, it all adds up and counts towards reaching the recommended level.
“What’s more, you don’t have to run on a treadmill for it to count, other activities such as going for a brisk walk, cycling, swimming or even doing some vigorous housework or gardening count towards it.
Adil Ray, Broadcaster and Creator and star of BBC1 sitcom Citizen Khan said: “Like most people I know I’d benefit from being more active. I hadn’t realised that 10 minute bursts counted. Even the likes of you and I can manage that! I think it’s so important that we stay active, eat healthily and generally look after ourselves too.”
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be significantly reduced by increasing physical activity and reducing body weight. Most people with diabetes – about nine out of every ten – have type 2 diabetes. Although historically the trend has been for the condition to develop gradually after the age of 40, worryingly in recent year’s type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed more frequently in younger people, and even in children. This may be due to the fact that children nowadays lead less active lifestyles (4).
The BHF has a free booklet on diabetes for South Asians. You can order or download this and a range of other resources to help keep your heart healthy for free at the BHF’s website. Visit: bhf.org.uk/southasian
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