Focus on lifestyle to reduce heart disease risk, urges Croí dietitian

The key to a healthy lifestyle is good nutrition, regular exercise and stress management.

That is according to Claire Kerins, a specialist dietitian with the local heart and stroke charity Croí.

Speaking at the launch of its new dietitian-led weight and lifestyle programme called Croí MyBalance, she said with cardiovascular disease remaining the number one cause of death in Ireland, people need to focus on their overall lifestyle and how it is impacting on their health.

She said when making lifestyle changes we need to be realistic and think long term.

“Oftentimes we set unrealistic goals which lead to unsustainable lifestyle change resulting in disappointment, low self-esteem and reduced confidence.”

She outlined that Croí’s new programme is the result of years of experience working with people who struggle with their weight, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure and overall heart health.

Delivered by a Croí specialist dietitian over eight weeks (1 hour per week ) with follow-up sessions at three, six and 12 months, the programme will provide expert guidance on all aspects of healthy living.

It will include the following topics: exploring your relationship with food; making healthy food choices when shopping; understanding food labels; controlling portion sizes; increasing physical activity levels, managing stress levels; and how lifestyle choices can impact on sleep quality.

“Furthermore, programme participants will receive an individualised assessment at the start and end of the programme and one year later,” explains Ms Kerins. “This will include: blood pressure checks; a comprehensive nutritional assessment; Body Mass Index (BMI ) and waist circumference measurement; calculation of your diabetes risk score (ie, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, both now and in the future ); and development of a personal nutrition and lifestyle plan.”

She continued that the programme addresses issues as varied as the quality and quantity of sleep, hydration, fitness levels and portion control.

“With cardiovascular disease remaining the number one cause of death in Ireland, we need to focus on our overall lifestyle and how it is impacting on our health. Unlike commercial weight loss programmes, the ‘Croí MyBalance’ programme focuses on lifestyle management and provides long-term support and motivation to assist individuals in achieving their nutritional and lifestyle goals for optimum heart health.”

The new ‘Croí MyBalance’ programme will take place at the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Moyola Lane, Newcastle on Monday May 11 from 11am to 12pm and on Tuesday May 12 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

To book a place or to find out more about the initiative book online at www.croi.ie or telephone Croí at (091 ) 544310. As places are limited on each programme, pre-booking is essential.

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