Health awareness walk for South Asians in Canada

Toronto, June 13 (IANS) With research showing South Asians being among the people most susceptible to heart diseases in Canada, a walk is being organised in the city of Edmonton to create awareness about the issue.

South Asians in Edmonton, the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta, will participate in the DIL Walk coming Saturday which will feature a free lunch, doctors on hand to check blood pressure, and advice from dieticians.

The event is being organised by the DIL Walk Foundation to create awareness about heart diseases and a healthy lifestyle.

Though DIL here is an acronym for Do It for Life, 'dil' also means heart in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

Research shows that South Asians - people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka - are five times more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases and develop heart diseases at an average of 10 years earlier than the Caucasian population in Canada, according to the Edmonton Journal.

Among the factors behind this, diet is one, say doctors.

"We often use breads such as roti or naan, the way many use a fork and knife," Ken Kalia, a resident of the Mazankowski Heart Institute in Edmonton, was quoted as saying.

"Easily you're putting in 100 to 200 calories per roti and some will go through six or eight of these, separate from their regular meal."

According to Sudheer Sharma, a cardiologist at the CK Hui Heart Centre at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, it is not culturally prevalent among South Asians to work out in a gym or use a treadmill, which leads to them leading a sedentary lifestyle.

"In the olden days, the large belly of a South Asian was a sign of prosperity," the report quoted him as saying. "If you were thin, you were poorer and worked harder."

South Asians number around 50,000 in Edmonton and represent the largest ethnic group in that Canadian city.

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