Ditch junk food for hap­pier heart

The West Australian - - NEWS - Cathy O'Leary Med­i­cal Edi­tor

Even busy pub­lic hospi­tal car­di­ol­o­gists and car­diac nurses ad­mit they are of­ten tempted to re­fuel by snack­ing on lol­lies, choco­late, bis­cuits and cake in their staff room.

But a Sir Charles Gaird­ner Hospi­tal team has pledged to turn its back on junk food next month and re­place sug­ary and salty snacks with ap­ples, or­anges and other healthy op­tions.

The Heart Foun­da­tion’s No Junk Novem­ber cam­paign warns that many peo­ple do not re­alise how much of the food they reg­u­larly eat is con­sid­ered junk food.

SCGH con­sul­tant car­di­ol­o­gist and di­rec­tor of coro­nary care Michelle Am­merer, who is on the foun­da­tion’s board, ad­mit­ted her weak­ness was lol­lies, gifts of choco­late from pa­tients and treats brought by staff for farewell morn­ing teas.

“When we have ur­gent cases, we just can’t leave the fourth floor of the hospi­tal so we end up eat­ing what­ever is around,” Dr Am­merer said.

“Even if we eat healthy meals, it’s what we graze on between those meals that can be a prob­lem.

“As a car­di­ol­o­gist, I see the con­se­quences of poor diet. The size of pa­tients is get­ting greater, there is more di­a­betes, hy­per­ten­sion and meta­bolic syn­drome and heart pa­tients are get­ting younger.”

The Heart Foun­da­tion said the over-con­sump­tion of easyto-grab junk food was a prob­lem for peo­ple of all shapes and sizes.

Progress against heart dis­ease, the lead­ing cause of death in WA, had slowed and Aus­tralian house­holds were spend­ing 58 per cent of their food bud­get on dis­cre­tionary or junk food and drink.

Peo­ple tak­ing part in No Junk Novem­ber are asked to do­nate the money they would have spent on junk food, along with do­na­tions from fam­ily and friends, to the Heart Foun­da­tion to fund life­sav­ing WA preven­tion and re­search pro­grams.

Heart Foun­da­tion WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mau­rice Swan­son is giv­ing up his weak­ness for sour cream and chilli chips.

He said most peo­ple did not re­alise how ef­fec­tive junk food mar­ket­ing was at in­flu­enc­ing their food choices and heart health.

More at no­jun­knovem­ber.com.au

Pic­ture: Trevor Col­lens

SCGH car­di­ol­o­gist Michelle Am­merer with nurses Teneka Mair and Mary Ann Phillips.

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