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Cardiovascular disease death rates decline, but risk factors still exact heavy toll
Date:12/20/2007

cs make it clear that cardiovascular disease remains, by far, our greatest public health challenge, said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., chair of the associations Statistics Committee, which, along with the associations Stroke Statistics Subcomittee, is responsible for the Update.

While CVD deaths appear to be decreasing, the prevalence of many related risk factors is holding steady or increasing. Overweight, in both adults and children, has been rising for several decades. Sixty-six percent of adults are overweight while 31.4 percent are obese. Seventeen percent of children and adolescents ages 1219 are overweight, along with 17.5 percent of children ages 611, and 14 percent of children ages 25.

Although we have made some substantial strides in understanding the causes of cardiovascular disease, the data in this publication show that we have a long way to go to capture peoples attention and to implement the prevention and treatment programs we need, said Lloyd-Jones, an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Changing dietary habits appear to be fueling increased obesity, because many Americans are not consuming recommended levels of foods like fruits and vegetables. As cited in the Update, data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Study of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that in 2005, among high school students, only 21.4 percent of males and 18.7 percent of females reported eating at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. A 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Study (CDC) shows that fewer than one in three U.S. adults consumes fruit two or more times per day, and only 27.2 percent eat vegetables three or more times per day.

Smoking, which raises the risk of coronary heart disease death two to three times, remains highly prevalent. More than 46 million U.S. adults are daily smokers, and about 4,000 pe
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Contact: Cathy Lewis
cathy.lewis@heart.org
214-706-1324
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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