Dubai: A new health-care campaign designed to help reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes is urging UAE residents to stop making excuses and start taking responsibility for their health and well-being.

The No More Excuses initiative launched on December 27 by Zulekha Hospital has been created to make the transition from procrastination to action.

“Some of the biggest factors that contribute to early onset of heart attacks and strokes are stress and everyday anxieties, coupled with lack of exercise and relaxing downtime, unhealthy eating patterns and smoking. We know the pressures that everyone faces in work and at home and we understand that often our own personal health and well-being takes a back seat,” said Zanubia Shams, co-chairperson at Zulekha Hospitals.

“Our doctors have all seen patients in difficult living situations and have witnessed too many tragic stories that could have been prevented. We have devised this campaign to help change mindsets and behaviours and, as a result, reduce the incidence of heart-related illnesses,” she added.

Currently, one in three people in the UAE is overweight and the prevalence of diabetes is known to be increasing. A new Global Burden of Disease, Infections and Risks (GBD) study commissioned by medical journal The Lancet reveals that four of the top five causes of death in the UAE in 2015 were heart-related.

In the first phase of the campaign, Zulekha Hospital is encouraging everyone to take advantage of a free appointment with their specialist cardiologists in Dubai who will conduct free ECG, blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol checks. Depending on the person’s weight and health history, they may also be offered additional health-care options.

In early 2017, the campaign will kick-start a series of sporting activities available to all UAE residents so that they can become responsible for their well-being and get active playing football, volleyball and basketball. A community-wide walkathon is also being arranged to open up accessible health activities to as many people as possible.