Survey finds that South Africans are surprisingly heart healthy

Lucky Star – together with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa (HSFSA) – ran an online survey from World Heart Day on 29 September 2018 to see how heart healthy South Africans are and the results were surprisingly positive.


More than 980 people took part in the survey, 60.3 per cent of whom were female, with the average age of the respondents being 42.

Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of HSFSA, says: ‘On the whole, South Africans have healthy habits with 47.7 per cent not drinking alcoholic beverages on a weekday and 60 per cent being non-smokers. Food, however is their downfall, with 41.1 per cent – the majority – wanting to change their diet. She continues, ‘One of the easiest ways they can do this is by eating more items with the heart mark logo which 86 per cent of respondents had seen before and 51 per cent knew are approved by our organisation.’

Despite saying they want to modify their diets, the survey revealed people only eat unhealthy foods like fast foods, take-aways and street food which are high in saturated fats, salt and sugar occasionally. On the other hand, they frequently eat heart-and brain friendly foods such as white meat, fruit, vegetables and whole-wheat breads and cereals.

The survey also showed that South Africans are highly active, with 73 per cent of respondents exercising between once and seven times a week and the bulk (18.8 per cent) working out three times a week.

When asked what they were willing to do to live a healthier lifestyle, 74.3 per cent of participants said they would eat healthier, 66.5 per cent shared they would exercise more and 43.5 per cent would add fish to their diet.

‘With oily fish being packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce blood triglycerides, slow the build-up of plaque in the arteries and lower blood pressure, it’s no wonder adding more fish to their diets was one of the most popular choices,’ adds Naidoo. ‘Fish should be eaten often as part of a balanced diet to prevent heart disease and strokes.’

She concludes: ‘Every day we hear so many sad stories about people dying from heart diseases and strokes that could have been prevented if only they lived a healthy lifestyle, so it really is encouraging to see that South Africans are looking after themselves and their hearts.’