Press Release
February 13, 2010

Pinoys with heart diseases getting younger
Pia advises the youth on Valentine's Day: "Take care of your heart!"

To mark Valentine's Day this year, Senator Pia S. Cayetano has appealed to the Filipino youth to adopt a healthy lifestyle, owing to the rising number of young working people aged 20-30 already suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

"Since Valentine's Day is closely associated with affairs of the heart, allow me to appeal to our youth to take precautions and take care of their heart by staying away from unhealthy lifestyles that raise the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases."

"Love is grand. And so we must love passionately. But to be in love, we must embrace a healthy lifestyle and have a strong heart and body. Sadly, there are environmental work hazards that contribute to unhealthy ways of living. We need to address this because heart disease is attacking younger and younger people. "

She particularly called on business process outsourcing (BPOs) firms or call centers in the country to help promote healthy lifestyle habits among their employees

Cayetano added that even while the BPO industry is expected to generate revenues of US$1.5 trillion for the Philippine economy in the next ten years, she fears that this could come with the cost of paying for hospital bills and medicines for the sickly youth population.

Revenues from BPO sector have reached US$6.1 billion in 2008. It is expected to reach up to US$13 billion by 2011 with a total of 600,000 to 900,000 new employees.

Cayetano, a staunch advocate of healthy lifestyle raised concern on the recent findings of the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) that more young Filipinos are suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

PHA vice president Dr. Eleanor Lopez had said most of the young people working in call centers have learned to adopt unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits such as smoking that put them at risk to suffering from cardiovascular ailments.

Lopez said most of these young employees aged 20-30 sit in front of the computers for eight hours without any physical activity. Most of them have become heavy smokers and eat in fast foods that are high in cholesterol.

"Although the establishment of call centers has proven to be a useful solution to the high unemployment among our youth population, we cannot ignore the dangers of their unhealthy lifestyles and diet that put them at high risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart ailments," said Cayetano.

The PHA said that the after Singaporeans in dying from coronary heart diseases. The overall deaths due to heart diseases comprised 25 percent since 1995.

"Call center companies should encourage their employees to pursue healthy lifestyle and diet by setting up gyms inside the office and Philippines has the highest death rates for hypertension in Asia and second to Indonesia in mortality for rheumatic heart disease.

Filipinos also ranked third after the Japanese in suffering stroke and ranked fourth putting up food centers that sell healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables," she said.

Cayetano, who is also a triathlete, called on the young population to stop smoking and lead an active lifestyle such as joining weekend marathons and biking activities.

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