Ditch junk food for happier heart
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
SCGH cardiologist Michelle Ammerer with nurses Teneka Mair and Mary Ann Phillips.