Exploratory study investigating why South Asians with Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD) have become a major health problem in South Asians, despite low fat intake and low rates of obesity (Nishtar 2002, p. 1015-18).

It is a paradox that the increased risk of people of Indian origin to diabetes and CAD is not explained by conventional risk factors. It is possible that the presence of new risk factors like lack of physical activity and exercise may explain this paradox.

Chronic diseases of affluence usually follow a sequence during the transition from poverty to affluence or on migration from rural to urban environments. In people of South Asian origin, overweight, central obesity and hyper-insulinemia appear to come first, followed by other problems including coronary artery disease (CAD) (Nishtar 2002, p. 1015-18).

Important minority ethnic populations in many countries worldwide are people of south-Asian origin. A consistent finding in these migrant populations is a higher incidence and prevalence of premature Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) than the indigent population (Khunti & Samani 2004).

In the UK, mortality from CHD is 46% higher for men and 51% higher for women of south-Asian origin than in the general non-Asian population (Petersen, Peto & Rayner 2004).

It is therefore timely to see a major conference organized on the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease in South Asians by the South Asian Health Foundation, a non-profit organisation whose aim is to promote improvements in the quality of, and access to, health care and health promotion in South Asians (The South Asian Health Foundation (UK) 2004).

To eradicate the reasons for these coronary diseases the tightly-knit community structure in South Asia could facilitate by the dissemination of messages (Nishtar 2002, p. 1015-18).

Healthier lifestyles can be promoted at mosques and temples, by advocating exercise before and after prayer, and by inclusion of fruits rather than sweets in Prasad (food served at religious meetings). The problem of smoking tobacco could also be addressed in a religious context (Nishtar 2002, p. 1015-18).

Prevention encompasses both public health and clinical approaches, targeting the general population and those at high risk, and can be achieved through lifestyle interventions, screening, and management of risk factors (Nishtar 2002, p. 1015-18).

Undoubtedly, poor counties need to prioritise the population-based approach, which should allow for differences in risk factors between populations. There are known differences in risk factors in South Asians.

Purpose of Study

The primary motivation to conduct research on this topic is based on the fact that this is a growing concern in UK and its importance is undermined to a great extent. By exploring the reasons behind this neglect on the aspect of physical exercise by the South Asians the researchers aim to add substance to this notion and also provide a basis for those organizations like South Asian Health Foundation who are working to reduce these diseases by attacking the researched reasons.

Problem Statement

“To explore the reasons why a large population of South Asians, with Coronary Heart Disease and residing in the UK, do not concord to physical exercise”

Overview of Study

Initially this paper introduces the concept of the trend in Coronary Heart Disease among the South Asians residing in the UK. In the second chapter the related studies done in this are have been explored along with researchers own Experiential Knowledge to form a proper Conceptual Context. Finally the research methodology has been mentioned along with the target population of study and the validity threats and limitations.


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