Heart disease growing

File photo: Brickz
File photo: Brickz

"We come from Soweto, from the townships. We are used to eating pap and meat" - Brickz

THE face of cardiovascular disease is changing. It has moved from a disease affecting mostly white males to one that affects younger black people. This is largely due to lifestyle choices.

Fatty foods, smoking and a lack of exercise are big contributing factors to cardiovascular disease. Yet many of us seldom heed messages cautioning us to change our life-styles, especially our diet.

Many people, such as Zethu Phaliso, admit to this.

"I just buy whatever I find. I don't think, maybe, I should eat healthily. I do eat a lot of fats and after that I drink lots of water and jog. It's not a problem," says 27-year-old Zethu.

Twenty-eight-year-old Nolufefe Magoda also likes fatty foods.

"When I'm at home I eat fatty foods. fried eggs, fried fish, fried russians, amagwinya. Everything on my plate would be like fat. But in the mornings I go jogging. So, it's like I eat my fat, then jog to reduce fat in my body," she says.

Some, like 24-year-old Junior Buhlebodwa Dludla from Soweto, blames the convenience and affordability of junk food for their bad eating habits.

"We eat bunny chow - ikota, you know. So I don't eat healthy. Getting a non-healthy meal is a phone call away. You can call them and tell them, 'this is what I want'. And you get it in minutes."

Even famous kwaito star Brickz admits to enjoying his fatty meals.

"We come from Soweto, from the townships. We are used to eating pap and meat. I'm used to eating anything and everything I can find. It's hard to keep to a healthy diet and not eat the things you are used to," Brickz says.

But Brickz says he does exercise, at least once a week.

"I believe I'm a strong healthy man. I usually go for boxing classes once a week when I'm not busy. I don't exercise a lot, but I do at times just to keep myself fit," he says.

It would seem that our respondents do know that eating healthily and exercising is important. However, they find it difficult to actually change to a healthy lifestyle.

But they best be warned since fatty foods and a lack of exercise contribute to one's increased cholesterol level, high blood pressure and diabetes, which can all lead to a sudden heart attack.

Derrick Raal, head of the endocrinology department at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, says new eating habits are responsible for an increase of high cholesterol levels in the black population.

"As people are changing from their traditional diet to eating fast foods, their cholesterol levels are starting to go up. We are starting to see much higher levels in our black population and what's coming with that is more and more heart attacks," he says. Heart ailments are no longer a "white man's disease".

Raal says people should know there are hardly any warning signs for heart disease. - Health-e News