The acquisition of healthy habits from childhood reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improves the quality of life.
The main cardiovascular risk is obesity and its associated factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, caused by poor nutrition and low levels of physical activity. Addictions such as alcohol, smoking and other drugs are also important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Often these pathologies arise from a lack of physical activity or poor nutrition. Both of these are lifestyle habits that can be modified, and changes for the better can slow down the increases in the prevalence of cardiovascular disease that have been developing throughout the world over the last few decades.
Because cardiovascular diseases often have their origins in childhood, the SHE Foundation believes that it is extremely important to create school programmes aimed at promoting cardiovascular health from an early age. In addition, scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of school-based interventions as the best means of reaching children and their immediate circle, especially when accompanied by a solid process of evaluation, as is the case with the SI! Programme Total Health.
The development and scientific validation of the SI! Programme (Total Health), a health programme that extends from the Second Cycle of Infant Education to the end of Secondary Education (from 3 to 16 years), is one of the most important challenges for the SHE Foundation.
The results of the SI! Programme epidemiological study have already yielded their first outcomes and there is no doubt that it will in the future contribute to an improvement in the cardiovascular health of the new generations.
If adults are trained in knowledge, skills and attitudes for a healthy lifestyle, with their peers, they will improve their cardiovascular health habits and self-control of the risk
The Fifty-Fifty Programme came about from the SHE Foundation initiative, promoted by Dr. Valentí Fuster and AESAN (Spanish Agency for Food Security and Nutrition), of the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, within the framework of the NAOS Strategy and the Observatory of Nutrition and the Study of Obesity, to improve in an integral way the health of adults, by modifying their health habits.
Its aim is to improve the integral health of adults between 25 and 50 years old, helping them to modify their health habits and self-control of the main cardiovascular risk factors: overweight/obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking and high blood pressure, through peer education.
On the basis of Dr. Fuster’s earlier experience on the island of Grenada, a Fifty-Fifty Programme pilot was carried out in the town of Cardona that determined the viability of the intervention and developed experience in the methodology of peer support. Based on an initial evaluation of the participants and after six months of intervention, the people have modified their daily routines and improved their health habits.
Obesity, an unbalanced diet, smoking, lack of physical exercise and high blood pressure are some of the main risk factors. Although these five factors cannot always be modified, as much as 80% of the disease could be avoided if the risk factors related to lifestyle, such as physical inactivity, smoking and bad eating habits, were reduced.
It is a community intervention study for promoting the integral health of the adult population, via a scientific evaluation project.
This community health programme is accompanied by a rigorous scientific evaluation of the results, of the implementation processes and of the degree of satisfaction of the participants, for the purposes of establishing a “model of good practice” which will facilitate an adequate transition to the public and private administrations and institutions involved.
SCIENTIFIC PROJECT VISION
In the Healthy Communities programme it is the members of the same community who promote the change of the health paradigm in their city.
The SHE Foundation has designed a scientific study to evaluate the effectiveness of a community intervention, Healthy Communities, paying special attention to the main risk factors of cardiovascular disease (tobacco, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, obesity) as well as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative events. The purpose of the project is to implement and validate a healthy city programme in which cardiovascular health habits are promoted at all stages of life and that it is the citizens themselves who are involved in improving their health and wellness potential, generating a health culture in a community where working for cardiovascular health is everyone’s job.
Healthy Communities HC2030 is based on the implementation of Health Programmes previously evaluated by the SHE Foundation and whose results have been published in high-impact scientific journals: SI! Programme and Fifty-Fifty Programme.
- SI! Programme: educational intervention in the school environment based on the promotion of cardiovascular health in children and adolescents from 3 to 16 years favouring healthy behaviours related to food, physical activity and emotional management with knowledge of the body and heart as the link
- Fifty-Fifty Program: intervention through peer-group workshops and support dynamics aimed at adults to improve cardiovascular health habits, addressing in-depth issues such as healthy eating, physical activity, smoking or stress.
The Healthy Communities HC2030 project is funded by Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, the SHE Foundation (Science, Health and Education)-la Caixa and collaborates in the development of the study the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques and the National Center of Scientific Research.