It provides a list of foods that can promote heart disease, and of those that can protect the individual against it. Research has suggested that a small intake of alcohol can also play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Maslen (2010) even suggests that dark chocolate could potentially reduce the risk factors that lead to heart disease. Although unconventional wisdom, the author cites research by a Melbourne university, which suggested that dark chocolate contains antioxidants that decrease the effect of free radicals in the blood, thus promoting a healthier heart.
In short, the population in the Campbelltown LGA is at particular risk from factors that could lead to heart disease. It also follows that, if not treated preventatively, these factors could in fact lead to the necessity for operations or at least a period in the hospital. Most programmes currently focus upon preventing rather than recovering from heart disease. Hence, a specific need for this area is to implement programmes that approach heart disease from the post-operative perspective, while also focusing upon specific demographic and age groups such as women, older men, young people, etc. Support groups should be implemented to supplement the activity groups. Specifically, support groups can focus on healthy habits such as following a good diet, or upon reducing unhealthy habits such as smoking.
2.2 Consult Stakeholders
There are a variety of stakeholders that can be consulted in implementing additional community programmes to help treating heart disease sufferers. The first consultations will then be conducted with administrators of existing programmes, including those in the leadership positions of these programmes. They will be questioned regarding the viability of using the existing programme platform to include additional elements into existing programmes. On a wider scale, medical professionals will also be consulted for input on the needs of the community regarding the proposed programmes. Representatives of the Heart Foundation and the hospital in the area will be consulted for recommendations on implementing new programmes.
Consumer groups will also be consulted regarding their perception of the heart disease problem in the Campbelltown community, and on the possibility of using existing facilities for group meetings and the like.
Finally, members of the community will be approached with questions regarding their experience of heart disease, whether they perceive themselves to be at risk, and what they consider to be risk factors. Also, questions will include the proposed need for support groups to support healthy habits and the need for Internet sites to provide further information and support. It is, for example, possible that not all community members will be inclined towards meeting in a group, but that they will prefer to meet online in a "virtual" capacity.
2.3 New Data
It has been suggested above that new data indicates the potential of limited alcohol use and dark chocolate to reduce risk factors associated with heart disease. These are important findings, as they can provide the community with additional means of promoting health while fighting the disease.
Furthermore, consultations will be held with university departments to determine the likelihood of these findings, and whether more investigations have been made into the validity of the findings. For Campbelltown, specifically, these findings are applicable as the LGA has a high rate of risk factors for heart disease. Furthermore, experts will also be consulted regarding the viability of these findings for promoting the health of post-operative heart disease patients.
3. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS and TARGET GROUP
The main target group will be people who are recovering from heart disease. The reason for this is that most existing community groups focus upon preventing heart disease by means of exercise and/or diet. There is therefore a need among recovering heart disease sufferers for groups that cater specifically for their health needs. Such groups can be implemented from the platform of existing groups, while a new set of support groups can also be implemented to help them with the rigors of recovery and retaining health.
Risk factors for delivering in these needs include the attitude of community leaders, the funding available, and the perception of community members regarding the need for such groups in the LGA.
4. STRATEGIES and RECOMMENDATIONS
As mentioned above, the main goal of the project will be to provide community programmes for recovering heart disease sufferers. The rationale for this is that existing programmes focus primarily upon preventing heart disease rather than recovery. There is therefore a need among community members to address this issue as well, as a large number of the population is at risk of the disease and are recovering from it.
The first step in the action plan is therefore to consult stakeholders such as community leaders, medical personnel, and community members to determine the research conducted, the applicability of this research to the target group, and the perception of the community regarding their needs in these area. The second step is a resource analysis to determine what can be reasonably accomplished in terms of implementation. Thirdly, implementation will be accompanied by community information projects such as advertisements and informative Internet sites. Existing programmes and other relevant settings such as hospitals and doctor's offices will be used as means of informing the community.
The first priority in the action plan is to include community programmes to help recovering heart disease sufferers in existing preventative programmes. When feedback on this is favourable, further funding can be obtained and other elements included. Other initial implementations will include a Website with advice on recovering from heart disease, including an online support group. Once this is successful, an offline support group will be implemented.
A group of consultants will be formed to make decisions regarding priorities and new implementations. The group will also be responsible for obtaining funding for the various implementations.
There is little doubt that the Campbelltown LGA is in need of additional heart disease community programmes. The research suggests that a large part of the community remains uninformed about the disease, while recovering heart disease sufferers do not in truth receive the formalized support available to the general community.
Australian Government, Dept. Of Health and Ageing. (2010). Healthy Communities Initiative. Retrieved from: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/healthyactive/publishing.nsf/Content/healthy-communities
Bertola, V. (2010, Jun 10). Campbelltown Hospital supporting the Heart Foundation's annual Go Red for Women campaign. Macarthur Chronicle. Retrieved from: http://macarthur-chronicle-camden.whereilive.com.au/news/story/campbelltown-hospital-supporting-the-heart-foundation-s-annual-go-red-for-w/
Better Health Channel (2010). Smoking and Heart Disease. Retrieved from: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Smoking_and_heart_disease_the_facts
Better Health Channel. (2010). Heart disease and food. Retrieved from: