25% of heart attacks and strokes are preventable

Heart attack and stroke deaths are still the major cause of death in Ireland today. With a healthier diet one in four deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke could be prevented each year, according to new evidence from the all–island Health Research Board Centre for Diet and Health.

Such an outcome requires everyone in Ireland to cut their salt, trans fat and saturated fat intake and eat three more portions of fruit and veg per day.

The study estimated the potential reduction in CHD and stroke deaths achievable with a healthier diet. It looked at two scenarios, one termed conservative and the other a substantial, but politically feasible option. The outcomes were clear.

  • 395 deaths could be prevented each year on the conservative scenario of reducing salt intake by 1gm per day, reducing trans fat by 0.5% of energy intake and saturated fat by 1% of energy intake, as well as consuming one additional portion of fruit or vegetables a day.
  • 1070 deaths from CHD and stroke (or one in four of current such deaths) could be prevented each year on the substantial, but politically feasible scenario of reducing salt intake by 3gm per day, reducing trans fat by 1% of energy intake and saturated fat by 3% of energy intake, as well as three additional portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Currently in Ireland 91% adults do not consume the recommended "5 a day" of fruit and vegetables and 63% of the population exceed the recommended upper limit of 35% food energy from fat. UCC’s Professor Ivan Perry, who is Head of the HRB Centre, says that "there are significant opportunities for government and industry to address this mortality by introducing effective food policies such as making fruit and vegetables more affordable and working with the food industry to reduce salt in processed foods". According to Prof Perry, "Leadership is critical for legislating dietary food policies both at national and EU level".

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Posted: 13/08/2013 14:28:35 by Dr. Cliodhna Foley-Nolan


 

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