FENLANDER: Council works with British Heart Foundation to reduce heart disease levels

CONCERTED efforts are being made to reduce the high level of heart disease in Fenland.

Fenland District Council is working closely with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) on a project designed both to support those already suffering from heart problems and to help prevent others from developing them.

The �100,000 ‘Hearty Lives Fenland’ scheme is tailored to those most at risk. It aims to encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle, thus minimising the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiac problems.

Charlene Denton, FDC’s lifestyle coach, is working in the parts of the district where the problems are most acute. She offers practical help and advice to people at risk and points them towards the various local services that can support their needs.

Her work includes carrying out personal lifestyle checks and advising people on how to eat more healthily and give up smoking.

FDC is also running a new ‘health at work’ programme to encourage more physical activity in the workplace. Charlene has been working with the Del Monte factory in Wisbech and is looking to establish similar links with other companies.

In another strand of the project, weekly ‘Healthy Heart’ classes are being held at FDC’s three leisure centres. Led by FDC staff who have received specialist training funded by the BHF, they are primarily aimed at people known to be suffering from a heart condition to help them get fit and active again.

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Diane Card, BHF community development manager (East Region), said: “Together with Fenland District Council we are providing opportunities for people to improve their lifestyle and help to decrease the high incidence of heart disease in the area.

“This project is reaching some of the most deprived communities and improving the lives of many people in Fenland.”

Cllr Ralph Butcher, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for tackling health inequalities, said: “Too many people in Fenland suffer from heart problems. This joint project is helping to alert people to the dangers and showing them how to minimise them.

“The simple lifestyle checks we carry out often identify problems that would otherwise go unnoticed and the fitness classes are an easy and safe way to keep fit and active.”

• For details of the “Healthy Heart” fitness classes, call the Hudson Leisure Centre (01945 584230), the Manor (01733 202298) or the George Campbell (01354 622399). Companies interested in the ‘health at work’ scheme should call Charlene Denton on 01354 622463 or e-mail cdenton@fenland.gov.uk

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