“The acquisition of healthy habits from childhood reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improves the quality of life in adulthood”
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
To transform Cardona into a town where individuals, families,and communities can increase their health and welfare potential, and where working towards cardiovascular health is everyone’s business.
The SHE Foundation, with the collaboration of Cardona Town Council, has implemented the first Healthy Communities pilot in Cardona, a community intervention based on scientific evidence and aimed at the promotion of positive behavioural changes.
“In the Healthy Communites Programme, it is the members of the community themselves who promote the paradigm shift in the health of their town”, says Dr. Fuster.
The project follows the strategy set by the national and international bodies that had established the year 2020 as the date by which to achieve various objectives regarding the promotion of health and prevention of disease.