A research team at University of Liverpool and the Heart of Mersey found that a decrease in smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure and physical inactivity contributed to the fall in deaths from coronary heart disease, yet this decrease could have been substantially more had it not been for the increases in obesity and diabetes cases.

Data included results from trials, official statistics and national surveys. Coronary heart disease (CHD) death rates in the US almost halved between 1980 and 2000. : “Fortyseven percent of the fall was attributed to medical treatments and approximately 44 percent to changes in risk factors. Prevalence of smoking, for example had fallen by 12 percent. Decreases in physical inactivity however, were offset by increases in body mass index and diabetes,” explained Professor Simon Capewell, from University’s Division of Public Health.

From 1980 to 2000, the US death rates for CHD fell from 543 to 267 per 100,000 population among men and from 263 to 134 per 100,000 population among women. Overall there were 341, 745 fewer CHD deaths in 2000 than in 1980. The team found that this decrease was attributed to reductions in risk factors such as total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, smoking and physical inactivity. However, they found that this reduction could have been 15 percent more had it not been for an increase in obesity and diabetes. Approximately half the fall in CHD deaths was also attributed to medical treatments, including medications for heart failure and emergency treatments for heart attacks and angina.

Robin Ireland, Chief Executive at Heart of Mersey, added: “We have recently seen similar falls in heart disease here in the UK. These changes mainly reflect healthier diets, not tablets. However the increase in obesity and diabetes are a wakeup call. They reflect the increasing consumption of large helpings of junk food. We need legislation to encourage food manufacturers and supermarkets to provide healthier food options.”

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Liverpool