£230k funding to tackle heart disease in borough

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Almost a quarter of a million pound’s worth of funding is being invested in programmes which tackle cardiovascular disease in Carrick.

The figure was outlined during a presentation on the Hearty Lives project at Monday night’s meeting of the Environmental Services Committee.

The project, which was re-launched in the borough last summer, is a partnership between Carrickfergus Borough Council, the British Heart Foundation, the Public Health Agency and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

Some £230,000 will be invested in Carrick by the BHF over the next three years, aiming to reduce levels of cardiovascular disease in the local community through the delivery of a number of programmes.

Hearty Lives Carrickfergus will focus in particular on tackling maternal and family obesity.

Speaking at the meeting, Florence Hand from the NHSCT health improvement team said: “Why does Carrickfergus need almost a quarter of a million’s worth of funding?

“Between 1999 and 2009, cardiovascular disease was identified as the main cause of death in the town.

“One in five children were found to be overweight before the age of five years old, and in three wards in the town the life expectancy for females is lower than the UK average.

“In fact, coronary heart disease kills three times more women than breast cancer.”

The project aims to:

develop programmes to tackle obesity (a risk factor for heart and circulatory disease) in women of child-bearing age;

help achieve and maintain a healthy weight for women before, during and after pregnancy using a partnership approach;

co-ordinate and develop obesity prevention programmes for families.

Hearty Lives Carrickfergus, which is modelled after a successful project in Cookstown, is currently facilitating programmes on mental well-being, money management and parents promoting healthy habits.

The programmes support the development of new ways to highlight the impact of obesity for women and their families. The sessions are aimed at women aged between 18 to 45 years old in the Carrickfergus Borough area.

“Sometimes its helpful to take a step back from the clinical side of things and look at, for example, taking care of your money and cooking on a budget, as eating healthily needn’t necessarily cost more,” added Florence.

“We hope to engage further with the local community and find out what services they need so that we can signpost them.”

Meanwhile, council has also appointed, part-time, a dietician and a midwife to support the delivery of the Hearty Lives project.

For more information, contact the council’s Environmental Health department on 028 9335 8071.