The Nigerian Heart Foundation says 80 per cent of premature deaths from heart diseases can be addressed if tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and air pollution are controlled.
Addressing a news conference in Lagos on behalf of the NHF, Mrs Dolapo Coker, member, Nutrition Committee of the foundation, stressed the need to address carbon emissions by the government to reduce cardiovascular diseases.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the briefing was to commemorate 2022 World Heart Day.
World Heart Day is marked annually on September 20 to raise awareness about Cardiovascular Diseases, their management, as well as their toll on society.
The theme of the 2022 World Heart Day is ‘Use heart for every heart”.
Coker, a former President of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, said that heart diseases remained the number one cause of death worldwide, claiming 18.6 million lives per year.
She said that the World Heart Foundation was calling for urgent action on climate change and health inequity, saying millions more lives are now at risk from cardiovascular disease, “which is still the world’s biggest killer.”
“The year 2022 has seen historic heat waves and, with climate change disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable populations, we can expect a further widening of the gap in global cardiovascular healthcare equity.
“Climate change and related air pollution is already responsible for 25% of all deaths from cardiovascular disease, killing 7 million people annually.
Quoting Prof. Fausto Pinto, President of WHF, Coker said: “Millions of already vulnerable people are doubly exposed to extreme weather events and limited access to healthcare.
“World leaders must step up efforts on the two biggest threats of our time – climate change and global health inequity.”
Coker said that working hand in hand with the World Health Organisation, WHF was calling on governments, civil society, and global industry to meet net-zero targets, to tackle global warming and curb air pollution, and to deliver healthcare access for all.
“A new global survey by WHF highlights the global concern surrounding the link between climate change and cardiovascular disease with climate change and air pollution ranked as the third most serious issues in relation to cardiovascular health among the respondents.
“The survey also revealed that awareness of healthcare inequality is growing: in reply to a question about which global issues affected cardiovascular disease the most the second.
“The second most common answer was social inequality and access to healthcare.