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Heart Disease Health Center

Cause of Most Heart Attacks Found

Researchers Say They May Know What Causes 90% of Heart Attacks
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Stress Effect Stronger Than Thought continued...

Rounding out the list of risk factors were diabetes, high blood pressure, sedentary life style, and a diet that doesn't include generous servings of fruits and vegetables. On the positive side, a good diet, regular exercise, and moderate alcohol intake did reduce the risk of heart disease -- again the reduction was the same regardless of race or ethnicity.

Richard Horton, MD, editor of The Lancet, says that the study demonstrates the potential for real health benefits that can be achieved without pills or surgery. Horton says the results indicate the need for "political action. I think it is really time to consider political moves to control the food industry." Among the possible options would be special taxes on foods known to contribute to obesity or limits on where such foods can be sold. Horton was not involved in the study.

Yusuf agrees that a concerted, international effort could greatly reduce what he calls a pandemic of heart disease. "We need to build healthier environments," he says. "Shopping, work, and residence should be concentrated in the same area so that people can walk to a store or walk to work or school."

The study received funding from 39 institutions including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario as well as a number of pharmaceutical companies.

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