Bangalore: In just one year in her job, BPO employee Beena M, 23, has gained around eight kilograms and doctors fear she might be prone to heart-related ailments. This Saturday, hundreds of Bangalore residents like her will be running for a healthy heart.
"This is for the first time we have planned the marathon for better health of Bangaloreans," Arvind Bharathi, manager, Runners for Life, told. "Awareness of important subjects such as heart disease prevention is important for every Bangalorean. And what better way than organising a marathon for Bangaloreans," asked Bharathi. The organisers are hopeful that after starting sporting-cum-health awareness programmes in Bangalore, they will be able to take the marathon to other cities soon.
Experts feel that such runs would definitely bring awareness about healthy lifestyles and be one of the key steps towards a healthy nation. "Through such initiatives we want everyone to know the incredible benefits of everyday walking and running experiences. Running and walking are very simple ways to exercise, and hopefully people would stick to them as a practice," said Durga Prasad Reddy, chief cardiac surgeon at the Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences. Though no demographic studies are available, cardiologists here find that many younger heart patients come from professions with highly demanding working hours. Many patients are software professionals and others are from the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, including call centre employees. "The common factor is that they work long hours with little rest and no time for healthy eating or regular exercise," said Usha P, a heart surgeon.
As per the National Cardiology Update Conference 2009, in the past five decades, rates of coronary disease among urban populations in India has risen from four percent to 11 percent . The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 60 percent of the world`s cardiac patients would be Indians by 2010. World Heart Day is observed to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world`s leading causes of death, claiming 17.2 million lives each year. The event will kick-start from Vydehi Hospital, Whitefield, about 25 km from the city centre, at 8 a.m. Saturday and will end at the same venue. There are three routes - 10 km, five km and one km - the last a `fun run` for parents and children. On whether such events help in creating awareness about the dangers of increasing incidence of heart diseases, affecting even those in their thirties and forties, Reddy was positive about the outcome. "Yes, we`re hopeful of achieving our goals. To ensure awareness about heart ailments among masses, we are also giving our special heart check package coupons to all our participants. We want people of all age groups to realise the importance of taking care of their heart and the dangers of neglecting it," added Reddy. The organisers are expecting around 1,000 participants in all. Runners for Life is the largest community of runners in the country, with over 5,000 members passionate about running. IANS