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Arter, the fictional character of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, is on a mission to reverse the trend of non-communicable diseases that are plaguing thousands of people in Antigua and Barbuda.
Arter is a symbol of the impact of unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices, which have led to alarming rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke among the population.
Arter’s sky-high scarlet presence has been felt in nine primary schools, where he has delighted hundreds of children and inspired them to make positive lifestyle changes.
Arter is accompanied by a team of dedicated medical professionals, including paediatricians, physicians, nurses, and friends of the Foundation, who educate the children about the importance of healthy habits, such as eating fruits and vegetables, having less screen time, and getting out to exercise, walk, and play games with friends.
Interactive activities, such as holding up placards that display choices between water and soda, playing football or a video game, and breathing exercises, have proved to be a hit with the youngsters.
The Foundation has also created an upbeat jingle teaching kids to eat their greens in order to grow strong and healthy.
Arter is not only focused on children, but the Foundation has also screened over 200 teachers and auxiliary staff for body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
The month of February is National Heart Month, during which the Foundation members will step up activities to raise awareness about heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, inadequate exercise, and being overweight are all major risk factors that contribute to heart disease.
The Foundation has been in operation for four years and has been instrumental in supporting patients and their families, raising funds, staging events, and carrying out medical research.
Arter, along with the Foundation, is committed to making a positive impact on the health and well-being of the people of Antigua and Barbuda.