The community and Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program partners and participants will celebrate their achievements at a free event in Roebourne on Friday 24 at the Ngurin Cultural Centre.
The program runs walking groups for women and children, Zumba classes and cooking classes and heart health education.
Following intensive consultation and the support of stakeholders, the program is being delivered across the West Pilbara by the Heart Foundation with support from Chevron Australia and in partnership with the Roebourne, Karratha and Onslow communities.
It is the first time a heart health program has been conducted in the Pilbara.
Heart Foundation WA Board President Graeme Robson said those involved in the program were proud of its early successes, and he was proud to be invited to share these with the Roebourne community at the event.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, so the work and contribution of everyone involved is a cause for celebration,” Mr Robson said. “Two out of three (65.3%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have at least one risk factor for heart disease – and research shows that Aboriginal people are three times more likely to have a heart attack.
Heart Foundation WA Aboriginal Health Manager Lyn Dimer said a 14-month consultation process in Roebourne identified nutrition, physical activity, young people, heart health education and improved access to heart health care as key focus areas.
She said heart disease was the biggest contributor to the life expectancy gap, with many men and women lost to heart disease in the prime of their lives.
“This has major impacts on our community,” Ms Dimer said. “By participating in the Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program – by walking, eating a healthy diet, not smoking and having your regular heart health check at the clinic – you can cut your risk of heart disease by more than half. You can be happier, more energetic and healthier for your families.”
The community event was an opportunity for the people to come together, celebrate and continue the journey of good heart health and living longer, she said.
The event, open to the whole community, would include a dance demonstration and story sharing.