World class golfer Padraig Harrington today launched the Flora pro.activ Cholesterol Challenge. Padraig, a 35 year old fit and healthy sportsman has an unhealthy cholesterol level of 6.2mmol/l, the recommended level is below 5.0mmol/l. In many cases, cholesterol can be managed through positive dietary change, so over the coming weeks Padraig will be incorporating Flora pro.activ products into his diet in a bid to reduce his cholesterol.
The results of a new survey commissioned by Flora, also launched today, highlighted that a staggering 71% of Irish adults are not aware of what their cholesterol level should be. This is a worrying statistic as Ireland has one of the highest rates of cardiovascular disease in Europe. In 2003, 11,000 people died from coronary heart disease, stroke or other diseases of the circulatory system accounting for 39% of all deaths, ahead of cancer which accounted for 26% of all deaths in 2003. Deaths from heart attack in Ireland remain high at 176 per 100,000 population compared to the EU average of 108 and Ireland is still above the EU average for premature deaths from cardiovascular disease.
Speaking at the launch Padraig Harrington said "I thought that cholesterol was something that only affected unfit or older people - not me, so I was shocked to discover that my cholesterol was higher than it should be. Thankfully high cholesterol is one of the risks of heart disease that can be managed proactively so over the coming weeks I aim to reduce my cholesterol using Flora pro.activ. It’s important to get everyone thinking about their own cholesterol. Like me there might be lots of people who don’t know about cholesterol so I will be happy if my experience encourages others to find out "Flora pro.activ uses a natural plant ingredient called plant sterols, which occurs naturally in vegetable oils, fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains, to lower cholesterol. Flora pro.activ contains considerably more plant sterols than you could eat as part of a normal diet, which is why its effects can be so dramatic. Clinical trials have proved that Flora pro.activ, used as part of a healthy diet, can lower cholesterol by an average of 10-15% in just three weeks. The range includes low fat spreads, yoghurt drinks, yoghurt pots and semi-skimmed milk. For many people heart disease can be prevented. A healthy diet, being physically active, and not smoking are all positive steps to a healthy heart. One of the best ways to avoid heart disease is to maintain healthy cholesterol levels which can be achieved by making simple lifestyle changes.
Flora Group Brand Manager Colette O’Brien said "Our long-term commitment is to promoting cholesterol awareness and heart health in Ireland through positive lifestyle and dietary changes, so we are delighted to have Padraig's support in this campaign as he is an excellent example of someone that you wouldn't expect to have high cholesterol. We hope that Padraig's commitment to the Flora Challenge will encourage people to think about heart health and have their cholesterol checked."