Belfast Telegraph

Will Poulter joins doctor father in blood pressure awareness campaign

He’s taking on a new role for a good cause.

Hollywood star Will Poulter has temporarily joined the family business in order to back a health campaign with his doctor father, highlighting the need for increased blood pressure awareness.

The Bafta-winning British actor, whose film credits include The Revenant and We’re The Millers, and Professor Neil Poulter are encouraging the public to take part in a worldwide screening initiative – entitled May Measurement Month – to reduce the number of people who die from complications related to hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Although admittedly not as “academic” as his father, a professor of preventive cardiovascular medicine at Imperial College London, Will was “grateful” to do something aside from his day job, and for a good cause.

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He told the Press Association: “Most of my family are in medicine and although it has always been of interest to me, my biggest passion has always been for performance.

“(But) I’m so grateful to get the opportunity to work with my dad on this campaign because I think those within the medical profession do arguably the most important work in the world.”

Of partnering with his father, Will said: “I think we have a shorthand that is unique to being father and son and we’ve been in agreement every step of the way whilst building this campaign.”

The 24-year-old, who received the Bafta Rising Star Award in 2014, shared his concern upon learning that 10 million people around the world die every year due to high blood pressure.

He said: “My dad brought this fact to my attention and I couldn’t ignore what a massive threat high blood pressure has on the global population.

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“What was most surprising and particularly worrying is that it is estimated only half of the people who have high blood pressure, know they have high blood pressure.

“This meant the need to create screening opportunities and increase the amount of measurements being taken was very obvious to me.”

According to the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) – of which Professor Poulter is the president – high blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in England, although 5.5 million of these are undiagnosed.

Aside from working with the ISH and the World Hypertension League (WHL) on the campaign, Will – who is set to star in Kathryn Bigelow’s new film Detroit – has shared his desire to broaden his Hollywood horizons and do more “challenging” drama productions.

He added: “I’m really keen to produce. I think my biggest passion is for film and so if the opportunity arose I would take it, in the interest of being able to have a little more creative control than I have as an actor.

“I’d love to be able to have more influence over what sorts of films are being created and what topics we draw attention to … world health being one of them.”

:: For more information on blood pressure and to find out where you can get screened for free at participating Superdrug stores nationwide, visit www.maymeasure.com.

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