Healthy Heart Program: about the program
Since the early 1990s, CSIRO has performed many clinical trials on how nutrition and exercise affect heart health. CSIRO has investigated dietary patterns, single foods, food supplements and extracts.
8 October 2008 | Updated 14 October 2011
The CSIRO Healthy Heart Program is the culmination of research, which has come together as a comprehensive program, designed to look after the health of your whole cardiovascular system.
The book provides:
information on heart disease risks and how to avoid them
a healthy eating plan with both higher protein and higher-carbohydrate options
12 weeks of full menu plans, including vegetarian options
a simple but effective exercise program
more than 100 delicious recipes.
Why heart health?
Heart disease is a chronic disease and in most cases can be prevented by adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle.
CSIRO’s work in heart health is a logical extension of its research in obesity.
What are the health risk factors in Australia?
In the Australian population:
60 per cent are overweight (7.42 million adults)
54 per cent are not sufficiently active to achieve health benefits (7.27 million adults)
51 per cent have high blood cholesterol (6.40 million adults)
30 per cent have high blood pressure (3.69 million adults)
20 per cent smoke daily (3.06 million adults)
10 per cent drink at levels considered harmful to their health (1.54 million adults)
8 per cent have diabetes (945 600 adults).
Ninety per cent of Australian adults have at least one of the above modifiable risk factors for heart, stroke and vascular disease and a quarter have three or more risk factors.
Cardiovascular disease can have a familial component.
How many Australians are affected by cardiovascular disease (CVD)?
One in every six Australians and 67 per cent of families are affected by cardiovascular disease. It accounted for 46 134 deaths (35 per cent of all deaths in Australia) in 2005.
In the 2004–05 National Health Survey, about 19 per cent of those surveyed reported one or more long-term diseases of the circulatory system, corresponding to 3.7 million Australians. The prevalence of CVD was significantly higher in females (55 per cent) than in males (45 per cent).
CVD is also one of the leading causes of disability, with around 1.4 million Australians (6.9 per cent of the population) estimated to have disability associated with cardiovascular conditions.
What are the costs of cardiovascular disease to Australia?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is estimated to have cost the health system A$7.6 billion in 2004 or 11 per cent of total health spending for that year. This is projected to increase to A$11.5 billion in 2011.
In 2005–06 there were 67 million government subsidised prescriptions dispensed for medicines used to prevent or treat CVD (37 per cent of all subsidised prescriptions).
Seven cardiovascular medicines were in the ten most commonly used medicines in Australia overall in 2005-06.
These costs will inevitably rise due to the:
increase in the average age of the Australian population
escalating rates of obesity
increasing costs of new technologies and pharmaceuticals which focus on treatment rather than prevention.
Why is the target audience over 45 years of age?
Prevention is better than cure and many people start to put on weight after 45. As we are living longer, we need to ensure that our later years are happy and productive.
By 2020 more than half of the population of Australia (53 per cent) over 15 years of age will be aged 45 years and over. A parallel increase in chronic diseases of ageing will erode the health and wellbeing of individuals and cost the whole of society.
Staying healthy for longer is the key and the earlier we start the greater the benefit.
What is the difference between the CSIRO Healthy Heart Program and the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet?
The Healthy Heart Program, as its name suggests, is more focused on cardiovascular health. It targets an older population (40+), which may have existing CVD risk factors who, by managing these risks, may prevent premature death and disability from CVD.
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is more focused on weight management and weight loss. There are similarities between the programs in the structure of the food groups. While the Total Wellbeing Diet optimises weight management, the Healthy Heart Program optimises CVD risk factor management.
The Healthy Heart Program also suits a wider variety of eating styles including vegetarian meals. It makes use of several functional foods, shown by CSIRO and international research to have benefits on CVD risk factors such as blood cholesterol levels.
Read more about The CSIRO Healthy Heart Program overview.