Survey Finds South Africans Surprisingly Heart Healthy

In the run up to World Stroke Day, which was commemorated on 29 October 2018, Lucky Star and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa (HSFSA) ran an online survey to gauge how heart healthy South Africans are and the results were surprisingly positive.

From World Heart Day on 29 September 2018, more than 980 people took part in the survey, 60.3% of whom were female, with the average age of the respondents being 42.

Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of HSFSA, says: “On the whole, South Africans have healthy habits, with 47.7% not drinking alcoholic beverages on a week day and 60% are non-smokers. Food, however, is their downfall, 41.1% stating that they want to change their diet.

Diet downfall

“One of the easiest ways they can do this is by eating more items with the heart mark logo, which 86% of respondents had seen before and 51% knew are approved by our organisation,” continues Naidoo.

Despite saying that they want to modify their diets, the survey revealed that people only eat unhealthy foods like fast foods, take-aways and street food, which are high in saturated fats, salt and sugar, occasionally. On the other hand, they frequently eat heart- and brain-friendly foods such as white meat, fruit, vegetables and whole-wheat breads and cereals.

Active nation

The survey also showed that South Africans are highly active, with 73% of respondents exercising between once and seven times a week, with most working out three times a week.

When asked what they were willing to do to live a healthier lifestyle, 74.3% of participants said they would eat healthier, 66.5% shared that they would exercise more and 43.5% would add fish to their diet.

“With oily fish being packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce blood triglycerides, slow the build-up of plaque in the arteries and lower blood pressure, it’s no wonder adding more fish to their diets was one of the most popular choices,” adds Naidoo. “Fish should be eaten often as part of a balanced diet to prevent heart disease and strokes.” For more information, visit www.heartfoundation.co.za.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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