A new survey has found that more than one in four men do not consider the health of their heart a priority, even though males account for almost three quarters of those who die prematurely of cardiovascular conditions in Ireland.
Data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that almost 30% of all premature deaths (younger than 65) in 2018 were from cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and strokes and the vast majority (73%) of those affected were men.
Notwithstanding this, an Ipsos MRBI poll, which was conducted on behalf of the Irish Heart Foundation, revealed that 28% of men do not consider the health of their heart a priority.
As a result, the charity has launched a ‘Reboot Your Life’ campaign which aims to encourage men to review their lifestyles and make vital, sustainable changes to improve their heart health.
The campaign is supported by Rugby Players Ireland and fronted by a number of former Ireland internationals – Tommy Bowe, Malcolm O’Kelly, Peter Stringer and Paul Wallace.
In the past five years, two of the players’ friends and former teammates, Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley and Gary Halpin, passed away suddenly due to heart issues at the ages of just 42 and 55.
As a result, the former players have come together to encourage men of all backgrounds and fitness levels to take control of their health and Reboot their Lives this September.
CSO data shows that 999 men died of a heart attack in 2020, compared to 642 women. In the same year, in the 45 to 54 age group, 217 men died of heart disease and stroke compared to only 75 women.
“One in four men in Ireland die from heart disease and stroke and men are nearly three times more likely than women to die young from these issues – but the good news is that 80% of those deaths are preventable through healthy lifestyles,” said Janis Morrissey, the Irish Heart Foundation’s Director of Health Promotion.
“The proportion of men who are living with overweight (43%) and obesity (25%) is higher than for women (31% and 22% respectively) and men’s diets are generally less healthy.
“The older you get, the higher your risk – and so we are encouraging men, particularly men in their 40s and 50s, to take stock of and Reboot their lifestyles by identifying what simple changes they can make now to benefit their heart health into the future.”
The campaign is being supported by the HSE as part of their delivery on Healthy Ireland, the national framework to support health and wellbeing in Ireland.
“We are delighted to support this campaign by the Irish Heart Foundation, which encourages men to Reboot their lives this September by making sustainable lifestyle changes,” said Fergal Fox, Head of Stakeholder Engagement and Communications with HSE Health and Wellbeing.
“Women tend to be more proactive in engaging with their health. In fact, men are typically 33% less likely to engage with their GP before they experience heart issues.
“That is why this campaign is so important – it encourages men to take action now before that crisis point happens.”
Rugby Players Ireland is encouraging its members, particularly former players, to prioritise their heart health as part of this campaign.
“Over the course of their careers, our members have access to the best facilities and medical supports to ensure they maintain peak physical performance,” said Simon Keogh, CEO of Rugby Players Ireland.
“It’s only natural that some of these habits and activities take a back seat when the time comes to retire from the game.
“We are therefore encouraging all our past players to stay fit, healthy and to get medically screened at least every two years.”
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