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IQ link to heart disease

Wednesday February 10th, 2010

Low IQ is a key factor for heart disease and is beaten only by smoking, British researchers said today.

The findings are set to be controversial - and may indicate that people with limited education have trouble understanding that unhealthy lifestyle may cause disease.

Experts said it was unlikely there was a direct link - and that all people could take steps to prevent heart disease.

Fotini Rozakeas, a cardiac nurse with the British Heart Foundation, called for improved health promotion campaigns designed to reach all people.

Fotini said: "By making lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, doing regular physical activity and eating a healthy balanced diet we can significantly reduce our risk of heart disease.

"We also need to create an environment which helps people make healthier choices. A quick and simple way to achieve this would be to introduce a single food labelling scheme using traffic light colours, guideline daily amounts and the word high, medium and low, and give shoppers simple at a glance information about the food they're buying."

The conclusions come from a study in Scotland, UK, of more than 1,000 people, reported in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.

Dr David Batty said: "From a public health perspective, there is the possibility that IQ can be increased, with some mixed results from trials of early learning and school readiness programmes.

"It may also be worthwhile for health promotion campaigns to be planned with consideration of individual cognition levels."

* The findings came as UK analysts said British eating habits are getting healthier.

According to the Food Standards Agency, people are now eating less saturated fat than ten years ago.

The NDS said one in three Britons now consumes at least five fruit and vegetables daily - but levels of sugar had not fallen. The reduction in saturated fat was "slight", it said.

Mubeen Bhatta, of BHF, said: "While it's encouraging that the amount of saturated fat people are eating has reduced, it is still too high and exceeds recommendations.

"The survey also shows that most of us are not eating enough of the foods that are good for us. Eating just two portions of oily fish a week whilst eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain starchy foods are easy ways to improve your diet and help keep your heart healthy."

Batty GD, Deary IJ, Benzeval M, Der G. Does IQ predict cardiovascular disease mortality as strongly as established risk factors? Comparison of effect estimates using the West of Scotland 'Twenty-07' cohort study. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil 2010, 17:24?27; DOI: 10.1097/HJR.0b013e328321311b

Tags: General Health | Heart Health | UK News

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