Prevention

65% of New Zealanders are overweight or obese and diabetes is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing chronic diseases. Risk factors such as these are major precursors to cardiovascular disease, New Zealand's number one killer. At HRI, we’re working to prevent death and suffering from cardiovascular disease.
More facts about heart disease

 

 

My family has a history of heart disease. My siblings and I are acutely aware of the risk factors.

Know the risk factors  

Much of the burden caused by cardiovascular is preventable. The major modifiable risk factors include tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, insufficient physical activity, overweight and obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition, and excessive intake of alcohol. Other risk factors that are beyond our control include age, gender, family history and ethnicity.

The health of NZ

Almost half of New Zealand adults are not physically active for more than 30 minutes per day

Smoking, drinking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and obesity are all associated with cardiovascular disease.1

One in six New Zealanders older than 15 smoke

Smokers are about 4 times more likely to die from heart disease than non-smokers and passive smoking is linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease. 1

​65% of New Zealand adults (aged 15 or over) are overweight or obese

 And two thirds of islander people are obese. 1

One in three adults do not eat three or more servings of vegetables per day

Two in five adults do not eat two or more servings of fruit per day.1

What can I do... to help ensure a healthier future?

1. Adapt your lifestyle.

Consume a low-fat diet high in fruit and vegetables, moderate your alcohol intake and exercise regularly

2. Break the cycle.

Our children adopt healthy eating habits from a young age. Bring your kids up in an environment where you drink water, eat fresh food and play sport regularly.

3. Support medical research.

The Heart Research Institute is an internationally recognised medical research institute performing groundbreaking cardiovascular research. Established more than 25 years ago, today our work is more relevant than ever.

How our research is preventing heart disease

Unravelling the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Researchers at The Heart Research Institute are the first in the world to uncover a link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a discovery that has the potential to save millions of lives. With these findings from Translational and Bioengineering Group, we hope to discover a way to help prevent damage to cells and cell death, and provide new treatment for vascular complications of diabetes.

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Understanding the causes of preeclampsia

If you’re a woman with children, you’ve probably heard about preeclampsia: it’s a disease of high blood pressure during pregnancy, affecting around 3-5% of all pregnancies and is life-threatening for both mother and the unborn child. Our Vascular Immunology Group at the Heart Research Institute has a principal interest in understanding the causes and progression of preeclampsia. New work by Dr Bei Xu from the Vascular Immunology Group has investigated events which occur early in pregnancy, as the placenta establishes the ood source for the growing embryo.

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Why are smokers more likely to get heart disease?

Atherosclerosis (narrowing and blockage of arteries) is four times more prevalent in people who smoke, resulting in far more deaths from coronary heart disease in smokers than non-smokers. Although it is well established that smoking independently increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, the reasons are not well understood. Research by the Inflammation Group is shining a light on this.

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Footnotes
1 Ministry of Health (2014) NZ Health Survey: Annual update 2013-2014. Wellington: Ministry of Health.