If you think that youâ??re healthy â?? think again! The first South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES?1), conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), found thatâ?¦

Being overweight makes us even more susceptible to heart disease, stroke and a range of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Get screened â?? itâ??s free!

Fortunately the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA), in partnership with Clicks, is offering South African free heart health screenings to celebrate Heart Awareness Month in September 2013 and World Heart Day on 29 September.

The Foundation has also partnered with popular radio stations to raise awareness and your favourite radio DJs will be having their â??heart ageâ? tests live on air. Heart age is the true health of a heart. The tests will include cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, waist measure and body mass index.

Heart disease and stroke is a leading cause of death

According to Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, CEO of the HSFSA, heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in South Africa, after HIV/AIDS. However, most people are surprisingly unaware about their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels, and what it means to be a healthy weight.

â??We spend hours each day getting our external appearance just right â?? but how much time do we spend every day looking after our health â?? and on what is going on inside our bodies?â? she asks.

The SANHANES-1 survey showed that two out of five participants (39.7%) ate a diet of poor nutritional quality with almost one out of five participants (18.3%) eating foods with high levels of fat and sugar (19.7%). On average, South Africans scored five out of nine when it came to general nutritional knowledge yet nearly two thirds of men and women thinking they were eating healthily.

South Africans are already among the highest sufferers of hypertension worldwide. Often called the â??silent killerâ?, because there are no warning signs or symptoms, hypertension can be extremely dangerous.

â??At least 80% of premature (under the age of 60 years) deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors of tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity were addressed,â? says Dr Mungal-Singh, â??The good news is that you can take steps to prevent high blood pressure or to treat it if it is already high.â?

This is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

â??â??Heart health has always been a key focus area for Clicks,â? says Dan Zinner, head of health care at Clicks. â??We believe that heart disease can be prevented by applying small changes to your lifestyle. We are advocates of healthy living and encourage consumers to go for regular health checks and screenings, as well as speaking to your health professional about the right medication and vitamins/minerals (if necessary) to stay healthy.â?

South Africans are tipping the scales and 65% of South African women are either overweight or obese!

What are you waiting for? Book your free screening

South Africans are invited to make an appointment at any one of the 122 Clicks Clinics nationwide for a free heart health check during the month of September.

Free Heart Health Screenings are by appointment only and only until 30 September 2013. Call 0860 254 257 or visit www.clicks.co.za to book. The heart health screening includes blood pressure, BMI, glucose and cholesterol screenings.

For more information about heart health, and where you can get screened, call the Heart and Stroke Health Line on 0860 1 HEART (43278), visit www.heartfoundation.co.za or email [email protected]. You can also find the HSFSA on Facebook www.facebook.com/HeartStrokeSA and Twitter – @SAHeartStroke