Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Our sexy seaside advert is 7th most complained about

Do you remember our campaign advert last year which featured a semi-naked man (he is actually wearing his swimming hat and goggles) and a woman in her swimming costume and hat, cuddling on the beach?

We ran it on billboards and in newspapers across the nation to make you aware that both 30 minutes of swimming (and sex) each day can be beneficial for your heart health, along with other exertions such as gardening, walking the dog, vacuuming and washing the car.

Unfortunately not everyone saw it that way, and our saucy seaside swimming poster was the 7th most complained about advert of 2007. According to the Advertising Standards Authority's new annual report, the ad generated 122 complaints from the public.

Our Head of Communications David Barker explains the thinking behind the advert...

“We are living in a world where we are bombarded with advertisers trying to grab our attention. To be successful, advertising needs to cut through the clutter and make a real impact.

“At the BHF we create high impact advertising that works. What some people see as controversial, others see as a welcome wake up call. Our 30-a-Day campaign has seen nearly 40,000 people request further information to help them get active and reduce their risk of developing heart disease.

“BHF adverts are designed to help save lives, not insult people. Previous hard hitting BHF advertising campaigns have helped thousands to give up smoking, encouraged children to think about what they eat and helped save lives by informing people about the symptoms of a heart attack.

"Our aim is to continue to produce successful and award winning advertising that helps save lives.”

To find out who also featured in the top 10 complaints check out the ASA's annual report

Alternatively, you can find out more about swimming, sex, gardening and other heart healthy pursuits on our special 30 a Day website

Monday, 28 April 2008

Airbus staff get on their bikes for first North Wales Bike Ride

Best of luck to everone taking part in the BHF's first ever North Wales bike ride, taking place on Sunday 8 June.

Especially to the team from Airbus in Broughton, who have a team of 20+ staff members taking part!

Starting in Rhyl, the ride will follow a 15 mile route, travelling inland, before returning to finish back at the coast.

We expect around 400 people to take part in this inaugural event, who will raise over £20,000 to help support our vital work and research.

Apart from being a fun event to raise money for charity, it's a fantastic way to keep fit, get outside and stay healthy!

There's still plenty of time to get your bike out of the garden shed, start training and register for the event.

You can register online at - or via the BHF Wales events team on 0800 783 6970 or

If you don't live in or near to Wales, fear not - we have plenty of events taking part around the UK.

If you're unable to take part, you can still attend BHF events to cheer the participants on. We hope to see you there!

In our photo above are (left to right) Jonathan Williams, Steve Paul, Bryan Ackerley and Simon Quick, four of the Airbus, Broughton, team participants.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Give peas a chance!

It's a first for the BHF Blog, but today we invite a representative from the vegetable fraternity to tell us why he's helping our campaign to ban junk food marketing to children. Over to you, Mr Pea...

"We all need to give ‘peas’ a chance. As a pea, I know it’s not always easy for healthy foods to be heard in amongst the clamour that junk food brands make in the supermarket. That’s why I’m supporting MP Nigel Griffiths’ Bill (that’s him on the right) to ban junk food marketing that targets children.

"Nigel’s Bill, which is being debated in Parliament today, will stop junk food companies from using cartoon characters, quizzes and games to attract children to their products. It will also stop them advertising to kids on the internet and on TV.

"We know parents are feeling the stress of pester power - two thirds are resorting to cunning tactics to avoid a row over junk food in the supermarket, and more than a third of kids are fighting back by trying to sneak junk food into the trolley.

We need to give parents a break and give fruit and veg (like myself) a chance to be heard. You can show your support for peas and parents by signing up to our petition to stop junk food companies targeting kids."

Thursday, 24 April 2008

West Midlands Fire Service to carry defibrillators

Crucial progress has taken place in treating heart attack victims at the scene of a fire. West Midlands Fire Service has teamed up with the BHF to arrange for Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to be carried on fire engines.

AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, which can happen without warning, even in people with no previously recognised symptoms of heart disease.

AEDs work to restore normal heartbeat - but it’s vital that they're used within 4-5 minutes of cardiac arrest. This is why firemen in the West Midlands will now play such a critical role in helping heart attack victims when attending the scene of a fire.

Remember though - the first port of call when either you, or someone around you, is experiencing heart attack symptoms is always 999 for an ambulance.

This is an important step forward in our and our partners' vital community work and and we rely on your help to enable us to do this. So please donate your time or money if you can.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Be in Peak condition for our next ride

This weekend sees one of the BHF's most challenging bike rides - the Hearts First White Peak Challenge

The 29-mile ride through Derbyshire’s spectacular Peak District on Sunday (25 April) includes two or three very steep hills, so riders have to be very fit to tackle them - although you can always get off and push!

So if you're in the area, and fancy taking on this cycling challenge to raise money for us, you can find out more information and register online now on the main BHF website

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Cooking up a treat for your heart

Take a look at our great new recipes section for some tasty heart healthy meals, everything from peppered beef steaks (pictured right) with red onion salsa to spiced fig and apricot oat crunchies.

All the recipes are simple to prepare and low in fat, and are split up into three main categories of Old Favourites, Modern Asian and Children's, so we're sure you'll find something to tempt the taste buds.

Go there now to find out more about how to download or order our new 'Healthy Heart, Healthy Meals cookbook'.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Walking your way to heart health

Feeling brave - as we do from time to time on the BHF Blog - we feel sure that the weather will be kind to the UK on Thursday.

Which would be good, because 24 April is officially national Walk to Work Day - or at least break your regular commute and walk part way to work if you live too far away.

Walking is of course great for your heart health, so naturally we're all in favour of this initiative promoted by Living Streets, a charity campaigning to create better streets and public spaces for people on foot.
There's also more on our website about the heart health benefits of getting active.

Now, let's have a look at that weather forecast for Thursday...

Friday, 18 April 2008

Alcohol & heart disease.. how much is in your glass?

Excessive drinking and its associated health risks have been hitting the headlines of late.

With summer just around the corner, it's an ideal time to take a look at your lifestyle and how you take care of yourself.

There's a lot of confusion around this topic. People often aren't sure what the alcohol guidelines are and ask if a small amount of alcohol can even be good for them?

If you enjoy the odd tippple, just remember to keep within the guidelines: that's 3-4 units a day for men and 1-2 units a day for women.

And if you go overboard, then think about your poor body and give it a break! Stay off the alcohol for at least 48 hours.

Take a look at our Alcohol and Heart Disease web page for further info.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Help a Heart this summer

This is Cordelia. She was born with a congenital heart defect and at ten days old she under went open heart surgery.

She has grown into an energetic two year old, full of mischief and confidence, with a cheeky infectious smile. But she still needs check ups once a year.

Her mum Maddie says: "I’m really grateful to the British Heart Foundation who fund pioneering research into congenital heart disease which helps heart specialists save babies lives like my daughter’s”.

So how can you help people like Cordelia?

We have lots of ways that you can help on your own, at work or with friends.
Go to the Help a Heart section on our main website today and see what you can do.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Missed the Flora London Marathon?

... don't worry - we've plenty of challenging or fun events for you to take part in this summer.

Why not try our brand new BHF Scotland's Tri For The Heart. It's a three activity challenge for women in the beautiful grounds of the University of Stirling this June.

Or how about a jog round London's Canary Wharf ?

Alternatively, we've bike rides, walks, swims and hikes. To take part in one of our vital fundraising events see the event finder on our main website.

And if you still need a bit of motivation - take a look at the new pictures of our fantastic Heart runners 'enjoying' the Flora London Marathon.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Cholesterol - what you need to know in 5 minutes

Not sure what cholesterol is? Not sure how it affects your heart?

Then listen up.

Our new podcast, Controlling Your Cholesterol The top five things you can do to lower your cholesterol tells you all you need to know in a snappy five minutes.

Our experts explain how too much cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart problems and tell you what steps you can take to reduce your levels.

You can also find out more on the Keeping your heart healthy section on our website.

And why not check out our other podcasts. You can download them from our website or subscribe to the British Heart Foundation feed on the iTunes online store. Go to our iTunes feed now

Monday, 14 April 2008

Top tips for a healthy lunch

About to grab an unhealthy snack to eat this lunchtime? Well stop right there!

Buying a healthy lunch from a canteen or putting together your own packed lunch really can be simple.

Before you say, 'but it costs more', or 'it takes too much time', take a look at our handy guide to eating a tasty, healthy lunch.

Here's a taster:
Include two portions of fruit and veg; use lean meat or hummus as a filler; ditch the fizzy drinks for water or fuit juice; use up last night's leftovers and say goodbye to full cream milk in your tea or coffee.

For the full list of ideas go to our top tips section on our main website and find out how today.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Tessa pounds London streets for the BHF

Today's featured BHF Heart Runner in the 2008 Flora London Marathon is Tessa Dollar (pictured right).

Many runners take part and raise money for us in the Marathon because they have lost family and friends to a heart condition, or know those who are living with the effects of heart disease.

Tessa's experience of a heart conditions is an extremely personal one however.

She says: "By pure coincidence, I am under investigation for a heart condition. Luckily physical exertion doesn't seem to be an issue!

"So I have first hand knowledge what an amazing charity this is."

More than 600 Heart Runners will pound the streets of London on Sunday, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for the BHF's vital and life-saving research work into heart disease.

Tessa will be among them, so if you'd like to sponsor her online please visit her page now

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

June makes it ten for the BHF!

BHF Heart Runner June Barrow Green is certainly no stranger to the route of the Flora London Marathon. This year is the tenth time she has run the course to raise money for us.

June says: "I am running my tenth London Marathon in memory of my brother Andrew, who used to run the London Marathon, but who died of heart disease aged 38.

"Having recently torn a calf muscle while playing tennis (which required the wearing of an air boot and visits from the District Nurse on her bicycle) this won't be my fastest run, but it will be one of my grittiest!"

We'd like to echo the words of June's friends in the photo above and say: "Go June!"

You can sponsor June online in the Marathon here

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Heart Runner Jill hits the streets

Today we feature the story of another of our BHF Heart Runners, Jill Butterworth, who's among the more than 600 runners taking part for us in the 2008 Flora London Marathon this Sunday.

Jill says: "The British Heart Foundation is very close to my heart. My daughter Mia (pictured!) was born with complex congenital heart defects.

"She has had several cardiac catheterisations and three heart surgeries so far. All that was before she was four years old. Mia will need more surgery in the future.

"I'm running to say thank you to the BHF for all the work they do, including funding the invaluable Cardiac Nurses, undertaking life saving research, providing vital information and caring for and supporting heart patients.

"So please support me and donate online!"

You can sponsor Jill for the Marathon online here

Monday, 7 April 2008

Countdown to London 2008

This year's Flora London Marathon is now just six days away.

And among the thousands taking part will be a 600-strong team of our very own British Heart Foundation Heart Runners.

We can't feature them all, but every day from now until Sunday we'll be featuring one of them and linking you to their online sponsorship page on our partner site JustGiving.

A huge number of Heart Runners are running for the BHF because they have first-hand experience of the effects heart disease.

Our featured Heart Runner today, Aileen Smith, lost her husband Alan (both pictured right) to a massive cardiac incident just two weeks before they were due to get married.

Aileen says: "Alan was always extremely health-conscious, an accomplished marathoner and triathlete. That being said, he also enjoyed his beer as you can see in the photograph."

Aileen is running for the BHF on Sunday in Alan's memory, and you can support her here

Good luck Aileen - and all of our other BHF Heart Runners too!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Multi-million pound cash boost for research

We're delighted to announce our Research Excellence Awards today.

The £34 million initiative will fund scientific discovery and medical advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease over the next six years.

We're setting up four Centres of excellence at London's Imperial College and King's College, the University of Oxford and the University of Edinburgh.

Read all about the initiative

And check out our video below.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The great outdoors...

Without wishing to tempt fate, it seems safe to say that the spring weather has finally arrived, and summer is just around the corner (cue torrential rain and bitter driving winds...)

With that in mind, the Blog's thoughts turn to outdoor activities, and more specifically to the fantastic range of jogs, bike rides, walks and other events that we have to offer you over the coming months.

We were reminded about this when we received an alert to the blog of a BHF participant in next week's Hearts First Jog Hyde Park (an event which now seems to kick off our season of running events across the UK), who sums up the attraction and purpose of the event pretty well.

Hopefully the good weather will hold out for the Jog on Wednesday 9 April, starting at 6pm.

So to find out more and register online please visit the Hyde Park page here

And if you can't make this event, take a look at the dozens of other runs and jogs or bike rides or walks or challenges or overseas events - or just browse our BHF Event Finder

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Introducing some very special people...

The people who volunteer to work for the British Heart Foundation, such as Pat Knights (pictured right) really are the lifeblood of this organisation.

As a charity, the fact is quite clear - we simply couldn't exist without them.

Our volunteers support our work in every area, from helping at fundraising events to working in our 500-plus BHF Shops across the UK.

Today we've picked out a bit of video (you can watch it below this article) from our BHF channel on YouTube, which tells the story of Pat, a BHF Shops volunteer. We hope it gives you an insight into the contribution of these very special people.

And if you feel suitably inspired, and would like to become one of our volunteers, please visit to find out more. Meanwhile, enjoy the video...