The city of Isfahan is in the central Iranian plateau, a location with distinctive natural features, including high snow-covered mountains, and fertile plains. The climate is semiarid and temperate. Isfahan has been a center of settlement since ancient times. Its present population is about 1.6 million people. Click HERE to view a related video.
Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (IUMS)
Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) has schools of medicine, public health, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing and midwifery, informatics and management, and rehabilitation sciences. The University offers a range of educational programs and has nine associated hospitals. There are five major centers of research, including the Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center (ICRC). Click HERE to view related video.
Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center (ICRC)
The Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center is a World Heart Organization Collaborating Center for research and training, in control and prevention of cardiovascular disease, and the rehabilitation of cardiac patients. It began operating in 1987.The center aims to assist academic and research centers, as well as other health care providers to conduct programs for prevention, control, and treatment of cardiovascular disease and related risk factors. Click HERE to view a related video.
Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP)
The Isfahan Healthy Heart Program is a comprehensive, action-oriented, community-based set of interventions, for prevention of non-communicable disease, and the promotion of health. It is conducted by the Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center and the Provincial Health Center. The program was launched in 1989 and promotes healthy lifestyle through good nutrition, tobacco control, physical activity, and coping with stress. It also tests the use of comprehensive, community-based approach in a developing country. The intervention communities are the cities of Isfahan and Najafabad with a total population of 1.9 million. The reference community is the city of Arak with a population of 700 thousand. Ten major projects have been conducted. Click HERE to view related video.
One project of the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program is Health Food for Healthy Community. This project promotes the serving of healthy food in restaurants, pizzerias, etc., and provides training in healthy cooking to kitchen staff of factories and other worksites. The project increases public awareness of the importance of making healthy food choices. It promotes healthy cooking through literature, contests, and TV broadcasts. It encourages production of healthier foods in the food processing industry and in non-industrial settings.
Studies have shown that 85% of people in Isfahan do not have enough physical exercise. The Isfahan Exercise Project seeks to correct this problem in several ways. The project provides training, encouragement and facilitation regarding physical activity. It offers physical activities for housewives who do not exercise outdoors. The project encourages bicycling and walking instead of the use of motor vehicles for urban transportation. It organizes automobile-free days, sports campaigns and healthy heart exhibitions.
Another project of the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program is Heart Health Promotion from Childhood. It is important to address cardiovascular disease and associated risk factors, such as obesity and physical inactivity at an early point in life. This project responds to that need. It seeks to improve the lifestyles of children and adolescents through measures including education, training, games, provision of healthy snacks and meals, and facilitation of exercise.
There is a relatively large population of youth in the Iranian society. Risk factors such as smoking are escalating in this population. The age of onset of cardiovascular disease is decreasing. The Youth Intervention Project has been designed to modify the lifestyles of young adults aged 19 to 25. Interventions include education, lectures, posters and pamphlets with special attention to venues frequented by youth such as universities, sports clubs, and garrisons.
Women play a major role in the family, in regard to nutrition and other matters; therefore Isfahan Healthy Heart Program conducts the Women Healthy Heart Project, in an effort to address women''s particular needs. Interventions through this project include training in healthy cooking, offering a model for physical activity at home, and education regarding symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
Another healthy heart project is the Worksite Intervention Project, which reaches people at office and factory worksites. The project educates employees about cardiovascular disease risk factors and a healthy lifestyle and encourages exercise at worksite. It trains kitchen staff in healthy cooking, and encourages good nutrition in cafeterias. The project enforces regulations against indoor smoking and encourages smokers to quit. It promotes annual health check-ups at worksite.
The Health Professionals Education Project increases the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of health professionals towards cardiovascular disease, stroke and their risk factors. The project activities are targeted to specific subgroups according to their type of work. The activities include continuing medical education sessions, training seminars and workshops, monitoring and supervision of health professionals, and preparation of guidelines for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Community partnerships can play an important role in promoting health. Also, it is important to involve the public in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, thus the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program has a project to engage non-governmental organizations and volunteers. The project seeks to increase the knowledge, attitude, and practice of health communicators, volunteers and NGOs regarding control of risk factors, lifestyle change, and community engagement.
Two-thirds of Iranians have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. However, diagnosis, treatment and control of risk factors can reduce morbidity and mortality. This need is addressed by a project titled Healthy Lifestyle for High-risk Groups. The project focuses on people such as smokers and diabetic, hypertensive, hyperlipidemic and obese individuals, together with their families. Interventions occur in the hospitals, treatment centers, health centers, physicians'' offices and laboratories.
The tenth healthy heart project is titled Healthy Lifestyle for Cardiovascular Patients. Its approach includes lifestyle modification, control of risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and diabetes, as well as drug treatment to decrease morbidity and mortality and improve the patients'' quality of life. The project trains patients and their families during hospitalization, at the time of discharge, and subsequently. It also develops private and governmental rehabilitation services in hospitals and other centers.
As a complement to the ten described projects, the Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center and the Iranian Heart Foundation organized activities related to World Hypertension Day in May, 2005, over a one-week period. Activities in Isfahan include TV and radio shows, information centers, and blood pressure measurement camps, educational workshops for health professionals, posting of placards, and distribution of pamphlets.