A new research has shown that the importance of exercise to prevent heart disease and its complications is proving to be a tough sell in Canada's South Asian communities.
Dr. Milan Gupta explained his findings to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.
Dr. Gupta, a cardiologist at the William Osler Health Centre in Brampton, Ontario, said South Asians recovering from coronary heart disease had less access to opportunities for exercise as compared to white Caucasians and also developed coronary artery disease much earlier.
The Stroke Foundation researcher said: "We know that Canadians of South Asian origin develop premature coronary heart disease, partly due to the early onset of classic risk factors.
"Sedentary lifestyle may be an important risk factor in this group, as they are susceptible to abdominal obesity and insulin resistance."
Dr. Gupta added: "The bottom line is that, after we have adjusted for baseline differences, South Asians have less access to home equipment such as exercise bikes or treadmills, and they make less use of formal exercise facilities like gyms and community centres."
Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson, also pointed out that people of South Asian descent were likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes.
She suggested lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
She added: "It's interesting that while South Asians perceive their neighbourhoods as safe, they aren't using them for physical activity. Why not? We need to increase awareness of simple but powerful effective ways of getting the heart moving."