Show me:
Show me:
Mental illness, diet and physical activity targeted in $2 million for heart disease research
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Mental illness, diet and physical activity targeted in $2 million for heart disease research

Media release - 2 March 2022

The prevention of mental illness in people with heart disease and strategies to improve diet and physical activity among Australian men at risk of poor heart health will be explored in two $1 million research grants awarded by the Heart Foundation.

Heart Foundation Group CEO and Chief Medical Adviser, cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings congratulated the successful grant recipients.  

“These are incredibly exciting projects that address some of the most vital areas of heart, stroke and vascular disease in Australia,” Professor Jennings said. 

“But importantly, they aim to have a direct and positive impact on the millions of Australians living with or at risk of these conditions. 

“The grant recipients and their investigator teams consist of some of the best and brightest researchers in Australia who aim to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice to directly benefit people’s heart health.”

Mental illness & heart disease

The Mental Health and Heart Disease Strategic Grant has been awarded to Professor Andrew Boyle, head of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Newcastle. 

A cardiologist and researcher, Professor Boyle’s grant will investigate whether a novel well-being app can reduce depression in patients discharged from hospital with acute heart failure.

One Australian is admitted to hospital with heart failure every eight minutes and eight people die from heart failure every day. Depression is prevalent among patients with heart disease, the major cause of heart failure in Australia, and is associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation and death.

As part of Professor Boyle’s grant program, patients will be prompted to monitor their health and symptoms of depression via an app, with this data being monitored in real-time by patients’ cardiac teams who will respond if high-risk information is recorded. 

The app will provide patients with tailored advice to manage their heart failure while allowing health professionals to prioritise and respond quickly to urgent mental health needs when they arise. 

Aussie-FIT: diet, physical activity & heart disease

The Behaviour Change Strategic Grant exploring strategies to improve diet and physical activity to reduce heart disease was awarded to Associate Professor Eleanor Quested from Curtin University’s enAble Institute and School of Population Health. 

Associate Professor Quested’s grant will scale-up a successful program called Aussie Fans in Training (Aussie-FIT), which uses the appeal of professional sport, including Aussie rules, to engage men and support them to adopt healthier lifestyle habits.

Pilots of the Aussie-FIT program in WA found it attracted men living with overweight or obesity and men with heart disease and shows promise as an approach to support men to make and maintain changes to their physical activity levels, eating behaviours, weight, and well-being. 

Unhealthy diets and insufficient physical activity are major contributors to heart disease and poor health in Australia. Three quarters of Australian men (74.5%) are considered to be living with overweight or obesity and only 1 in 5 men (19%) over the age of 18 do enough physical activity for good health.  

A/Prof Quested’s team will investigate the long-term impact of the Aussie-FIT program on heart health by undertaking research with a larger group of men and conducting longer follow-up, with the possible expansion of the program for different populations, including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander men.

The research areas for the Heart Foundation’s latest strategic grant program are based on the outcomes of an extensive two-year Heart Foundation survey of thousands of Australians, from people living with heart disease through to heart health professionals. 

To watch the researchers talk about their projects go to: heartfoundation.org.au/research/strategic-grant-recipients

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

If you're 45 and over, or 30 and over if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book your Heart Health Check today...

Health Professional Tools

Health Professional Tools

Health Professional Tools

Guidelines, publications and support for the health professional community....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

The power of your ongoing support can help save lives and keep more families together. Help us continue to fund promising heart research projects by donating today. ...

Q&A with Dr Jessica O’Brien

Q&A with Dr Jessica O’Brien

Q&A with Dr Jessica O’Brien

Quantifying myocardial inflammation in acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease...

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

We value the support of all of our corporate partners....

Your heart medicines

Your heart medicines

Your heart medicines

Information about commonly prescribed heart medicines. ...

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Physical activity and exercise can do wonders for your physical and mental health....

Finding support and connection after a heart attack: Nicola Surbevski’s heart story

Finding support and connection after a heart attack: Nicola Surbevski’s heart story

Heart failure resources for patients

Heart failure resources for patients

Educate your patients on everything they need to know about heart failure and managing their condition ...

Pre-hospital point-of-care troponin and risk assessment in chest pain patients

Pre-hospital point-of-care troponin and risk assessment in chest pain patients

Associate Professor Dion Stub, Institution: Monash University...

Asian (Chilli, soy and sesame) dressing

Asian (Chilli, soy and sesame) dressing

Asian (Chilli, soy and sesame) dressing

10 minutes
Serves 12 (1 tablespoon)

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Explore the Heart Foundation’s guide on what to expect in the first month after your heart attack. ...

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Search our heart healthy dinner recipes for tonights main meal...

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

My Heart, My Life program and support resources

My Heart, My Life program and support resources

My Heart, My Life program and support resources

Learn how the Heart Foundation can support you and your loved ones. ...

Food and healthy eating during COVID-19

Food and healthy eating during COVID-19

Food and healthy eating during COVID-19

Healthy eating and COVID-19 FAQ...

Prawn and avocado salad

Prawn and avocado salad

20 minutes
Serves 6

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Discover what you need to know about being active after a heart attack....

Strawberry fields oats

Strawberry fields oats

Strawberry fields oats

10 minutes
Serves 2

Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year

Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year

Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year

Media Release 20 October 2020...

The Best (and Worst) Drinks for Heart Health

The Best (and Worst) Drinks for Heart Health

The Best (and Worst) Drinks for Heart Health

Water is the most heart-healthy drink, but there are other drinks that you can enjoy in moderation....

Q&A with Mrs Vicki Wade

Q&A with Mrs Vicki Wade

Q&A with Mrs Vicki Wade

Beyond the Scars: The social and emotional wellbeing of young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples with rheumatic heart disease...

Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Serves Makes 350g | (Serves 8 – about 2 tablespoons - 44g)

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Information and resources for health professionals who are treating patients between 18 - 40 years of age....

Absolute CVD risk clinical guidelines

Absolute CVD risk clinical guidelines

The Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk (CVD) Guidelines helps healthcare professionals identify, prevent and manage a person's risk of developing CVD. ...

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

Resources for providing best practice cardiovascular care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples....

For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

The National Heart Foundation of Australia Position Statement: Coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Australia.¹...

One pan honey mustard chicken

One pan honey mustard chicken

One pan honey mustard chicken

30 minutes
Serves 2