Healthy Heart Challenge
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Associate Professor, Diane Fatkin
I am a cardiologist at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and am doing research into links between gene changes that can be inherited in families and heart diseases, such as dilated cardiomyopathy and a trial fibrillation. As a female cardiologist, heart health is very important to me, and I try to exercise most days, watch my blood pressure, and eat a balanced diet. Doing research involves many hours of sitting in front of a computer screen and reading journals.

During the Healthy Heart Challenge, my goals will include being more active during the day, and trying to spread awareness of heart disease and its risk factors amongst my female colleagues and friends. Most women do not realise that heart disease is the No.1 killer and there’s a lot we can all do to improve our lifestyles and reduced the risk factors for heart disease. Prevention is the best medicine!

Diane has chosen the 'Be active every day' goal.
Week 3 update
My goals include being more active during the day and encouraging other women to lead heart-healthy lifestyles. The most exciting aspect about the GRFW HHC so far has been the fabulous response we have had here at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and we now have a team of more than 30 enthusiastic women from all departments who are participating in weekly walks and other health-awareness activities. Our team effort has highlighted how having buddies can give a big boost to motivation and sticking to your fitness goals.
Week 6 update
The big challenge now that the HHC is underway is sticking with the plan. There are so many distractions and excuses that can take away “healthy heart” time, whether it be the cold dark mornings (when sleeping in seems the preferred option to a brisk walk) or the endless phone calls and emails that keep us chained to the desk during the day. It definitely helps to make exercise a habit (so that no decision-making is required) and to have some group interactions to keep the motivation up.
Week 9 update

The Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart Challenge has provided a stimulus to make me think about my lifestyle and how this can be made more heart-healthy. It has also been a wonderful opportunity to bring together women in our work-place and has given us a topic of conversation other than the day-to-day office matters.

The biggest challenge going forward, however, will be to keep being active every day, eating well, making time for relaxation, learning more about heart disease risk factors, and to turn all the good resolution made over the past 10 weeks into a life-long habit.