ISLAMABAD  - Health experts have claimed that unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are key risk factors for the major noncommunicable diseases.

According to them, inactive persons are more vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), hypertension, and diabetes  and advised them to adopt healthy life-style.

They said tobacco use is also a major cause of cardiovascular diseases. They said routine walk and exercise reduces the chances of morbidity, disability and premature mortality due to CVDs. Dr Sharif Astori of the Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) recommended to have regular check-up from medical consultants, besides conducting tests related to heart diseases including blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol level.

He asked to achieve energy balance and a healthy weight, limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption, away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids. He also advised to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and legumes, whole grains and nuts, limit the intake of free sugars, limit salt consumption from all sources and ensure that salt is iodized.

He said cardiovascular disease is caused by disorders of the heart and blood vessels, and includes coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, raised blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease and heart failure.

Dr Astori said that smoking cessation is the most effective intervention for patients with CVDs. He said that many people die each year of cardiovascular diseases and a substantial number of these deaths can be attributed to tobacco smoking, which increases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease three folds.

He said the risk increases with age and is greater for women than for men. He added cardiac events fall 50 per cent in people who stop smoking and the risk of CVDs, including acute myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, also decreases significantly after stopping smoking.