8th March 2006

Local Project to be lauched at the House of Commons

House of Commons, London

A South Warwickshire project destined to change the lifestyle and dietary habits of south Asian communities across the country is to be launched at the House of Commons on Wednesday 8 March 2006.

The Apnee Sehat (Our Health) DVD has been developed by South Warwickshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) in partnership with South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Warwick and the local community.

Championed by Dr Shirine Boardman, consultant in diabetes at Warwick Hospital, the DVD’s purpose is to highlight the health risks within the south Asian communities.

Dr Boardman commented: “I had seen my “fit” aunt die of a stroke at age 50 and realised there was an epidemic of premature heart attacks and strokes within the south Asian community and so few resources to help tackle this. That is why a DVD such as this is greatly needed for use not only by people in South Warwickshire, but the rest of country as well.”

With an educational grant from Sanofi-Aventis, Dr Boardman was able to professionally develop and produce the Apnee Sehat DVD. The expertise of Tahira Sarwar, a senior dietitian who specialises in south Asian diets was enlisted and appropriate material was developed with local South Warwickshire senior community dietitian Ruth Breese.

Culturally acceptable healthy recipes, ways of increasing exercise as well as the health benefits of spices and minerals and vitamins are all explored in the DVD. Master of spice Yakub Ali, who is a chef at Rozana’s Resturant in Leamington Spa and Surekha Parekh, a busy working mother of 3, are both featured in the DVD demonstrating how to produce both gourmet dishes such as Britain’s favourite “Chicken Tikka Massala “and “ vegetable curries in a hurry” cooked in a healthy nutritious way.

“It’s been a pleasure working on such an innovative tool for our community,” said Yakub. “Cooking is a passion I love to share with people. Good, healthy foods using fresh ingredients where possible is always the best choice – I hope people manage to take this message from the DVD.”

Surekha added: “I’m a very busy working mother of 3 and as people in my position may know, making a balanced meal every night can be quite a task. My advice is to plan meals on a weekly basis and freeze dishes that can be served fresh throughout the week. I hope many families out there find my simple recipes and advice to be useful.”

The DVD is supported by members of the local community, the University of Warwick, local MP James Plaskitt and the Department of Health with Sir Nigel Crisp, NHS chief executive and Surinder Sharma, national director for equalities and human rights having taken part in filming.

The Apnee Sehat DVD is a culturally sensitive comprehensive guide to healthy living for the south Asian community that could be used by healthcare professionals as part of their daily work within this community. It will be translated into Hindustani, a dialect used in Bollywood movies and easily understood by most of the community.

It is being launched at a House of Commons reception hosted by local MP James Plaskitt on Wednesday 8 March. Ministers, healthcare professionals and various healthcare projects across the country that are undertaking similar work are expected to join in the celebration of such as innovative tool.

Notes to News / Editors

For further information contact Chilufya Dawo on 01926 493491 ext 233 or email chilufya.dawo@swarkpct.nhs.uk

Facts and figures

  • The rate of premature death due to heart attack in Asians living in the UK is 46% higher for men and 51% higher for women than in Caucasians.
  • Death from heart attacks in 20 – 39 year old Asians is two to three times the national average
  • Heart attacks before the age of 40 is five times higher in Asians than in other ethnic groups
  • The incidence of risk factors for heart disease including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol is increasing in the Asian population
  • The difference in the death rates between Asians and the rest of the population is increasing.