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On track to getting even fatter
Date:11/16/2011

" Huffman said. "In concert with individual choices, public health policies can be and should be effective tools to reduce smoking, increase access to healthy foods, and increase physical activity in daily life."

More people would need to improve health behaviors related to diet, physical activity, body weight and smoking and health factors, related to glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure.

"We've been dealing with the obesity trend for the past three decades, but the impact we project on blood sugar is a true shock," said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., chair and associate professor of preventive medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and senior author of the study. "Those are some really scary numbers. When blood sugar goes up like that all of the complications of diabetes come into play."

Less than five percent of Americans currently are considered to have ideal cardiovascular health. The modest six percent improvement in cardiovascular health that is projected for 2020 means better cholesterol and blood pressure numbers for Americans and fewer smokers. Improvements in treatment and control of cholesterol and blood pressure with medication and declines in smoking would partially account for this small boost, but they wouldn't be enough to offset the weight and diabetes problems Americans face, Huffman said. Projected improvements in diet and physical activity also contribute to the six percent projection, but the absolute increase in Americans who consume ideal diets will remain less than two percent by 2020, if current trends continue.

"Since the 1960s cardiovascular disease death rates have substantially decreased, but if the weight and dysglycemia trends continue to increase, we are in danger of seeing a reversal of those gains," Huffman said.

Achieving a healthy weight through diet and physical activity is the best way most Americans can improve their cardiovascular
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Contact: Erin White
ewhite@northwestern.edu
847-491-4888
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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