Heart health money for Yarmouth

A charity is to spend �100,000 on improving the heart health of people with learning disabilities in Great Yarmouth.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says it has awarded the money to NHS Norfolk and Waveney as coronary heart disease is the second leading cause of death in people with learning disabilities.

This is because they are less likely to get enough exercise and more likely to develop high blood pressure and obesity, which are risk factors for heart and cardiovascular disease.

The investment is part of the BHF's UK-wide Hearty Lives programme to reduce geographical inequalities in heart disease. Life expectancy is 10 years lower for men and 4.9 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Yarmouth as compared to the least deprived areas.

The project will work with people with learning disabilities and their carers to give them information about heart disease risk factors and support them to encourage lifestyle changes.

Shirley Hall, from BHF Hearty Lives, said: 'We hope that people in Great Yarmouth see significant health improvements as a result of this investment.'

Uju Okereke, of NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: 'We are planning health MoTs to identify those at high risk of developing heart disease, and we will work with carers to help support behaviour changes to healthier alternatives in terms of diet and exercise, as well as offer targeted road shows and drop-in cafes in the Yarmouth area.'

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Ray Humphreys, chairman of Yarmouth's Gateway Club, said: 'It's a fantastic idea. Many people don't realise how many people in Yarmouth have learning disabilities. We have more than 80 members and only three weeks ago one of our members had a stroke; thankfully he's on the mend.

'As a club we try to encourage healthy activities and we are currently trying to raise �15,000 so we can take members on holiday again this year.'

kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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