School children at Bigland Green Primary School in Tower Hamlets are being inspired to live heart-healthier lifestyles thanks to a £9,300 grant from national charity, Heart Research UK.
The healthy heart message is being spread to residents in Tower Hamlets through the ‘In a Heart Beat’ programme, being run by Centre of the Cell, an award-winning science centre in Tower Hamlets.
The school children have been involved in the ‘In a Heart Beat’ workshops, learning about their amazing hearts and how they work, through the use of ‘pumping heart’ models and ‘lab-books’. The children also experimented by taking their resting and working heart rates, and learning how and why their heart rates change during exercise. They explored the function of the heart, Coronary Heart Disease and its risk factors, and the negative impact of specific lifestyle choices, such as smoking, chewing tobacco and poor diet.
The Tower Hamlets area, which has a high proportion of BME residents who are more at risk of heart disease, has been given the unique experience of the ‘Centre of the Cell’ interactive pod – suspended above the biomedical laboratories of the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London – which has allowed them to take on the role of healthcare professionals and learn about their hearts and how lifestyle choices affect health.
‘In a Heart Beat’ workshops have been delivered to four school groups and three community groups in Tower Hamlets to further explore the function of the heart, coronary heart disease and its risk factors, and the negative impact of specific lifestyle choices, such as smoking, chewing tobacco and poor diet.
By the end of the project, 300 school children, teachers and members of community groups who are at risk of developing heart disease, will have been motivated to make heart healthy changes to their lifestyles.
Umme Aysha, Tower Hamlets Outreach Officer at Centre of the Cell, says: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Heart Research UK to deliver this project in our community. The children have really enjoyed visiting the pod at the Centre of the Cell. Through these workshops in their schools, they’re having more fun and are learning the importance of keeping a healthy heart, making changes to their lifestyles for the better.”
Barbara Harpham, National Director at Heart Research UK, says: “It’s great that HRUK can help the hearts of the Tower Hamlets community through this innovative project. People need to be more aware how important it is to lead a healthy lifestyle so they can live healthier, happier, longer lives. Projects like this are a fantastic way of focusing on heart health in an interactive, inspiring and accessible way.”