School children at Bigland Green Primary School in Tower Hamlets have been inspired to live heart-healthier lifestyles thanks to Queen Mary, University of London and a grant from national charity, Heart Research UK.
A healthy heart message has been spread to residents in Tower Hamlets through the ‘In a Heart Beat’ programme, run by Centre of the Cell, Queen Mary’s award-winning science education centre on Newark Street, Whitechapel.
The Year 9 school children have been involved in the ‘In a Heart Beat’ workshops, learning about the heart and the amazing way it works, through the use of ‘pumping heart’ models and other fun activities.
They experimented by taking their resting and working heart rates, and learnt how and why their heart rates change during exercise. They explored the function of the heart, Coronary Heart Disease and its risk factors, and the negative impact of lifestyle choices, such as smoking, chewing tobacco and poor diet.
Tower Hamlets, which has a high proportion of black and minority ethnic residents who are more at risk of heart disease, is also home to the unique experience of the ‘Centre of the Cell’ interactive pod – suspended above the biomedical laboratories of the Blizard Institute, which is part of Queen Mary’s medical school.
‘In a Heart Beat’ workshops have been delivered to four school groups of 11-year-old pupils and three community groups in Tower Hamlets after a £9,300 grant from HRUK to Centre of the Cell. As the project draws to a close, some 300 school children, teachers and members of community groups who are at risk of developing heart disease, will have been motivated to make heart healthy changes to their lifestyles.
Umme Aysha, Tower Hamlets Outreach Officer at Centre of the Cell, says: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Heart Research UK to deliver this project in our community. The children have really enjoyed visiting the pod at the Centre of the Cell. Through these workshops in their schools, they’re having more fun and are learning the importance of keeping a healthy heart, making changes to their lifestyles for the better.”
Barbara Harpham, National Director at Heart Research UK, says: “It’s great that HRUK can help the hearts of the Tower Hamlets community through this innovative project. People need to be more aware how important it is to lead a healthy lifestyle so they can live healthier, happier, longer lives. Projects like this are a fantastic way of focusing on heart health in an interactive, inspiring and accessible way.”
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