Lifestyle changes. The past several decades in China have seen major shifts in eating habits, exercise patterns, and smoking behavior. These lifestyle changes have led to increases in all of the major risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, and obesity.
This is the conclusion of a 20-year investigation into the effects of lifestyle changes on cardiovascular disease in China. The comprehensive study included data from 26,000 individuals over the age of 35 years from 4,400 Chinese households in nine provinces across China. The researchers collected data on 17 risk factors for heart disease including blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body-mass index (BMI), and physical activity. These risk factors included 11 dietary factors such as high dietary salt and processed meat levels, as well as low fruit, vegetable, and fiber content.
The researchers measured the relative contributions of each of these factors toward the amount of cardiovascular disease in China. The top contributors to increased heart disease in China were high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity and smoking.
These findings provide further evidence that a healthy lifestyle is important to maintain heart health.
Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle:
- Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that contains whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, nuts and beans and vegetable oils
- Limit salt intake by reading nutrition labels, buying low-sodium foods, and preparing meals at home with low sodium content
- Limit sugar intake such as sodas, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets, and processed snacks
- Maintain a healthy BMI and body weight through diet and exercise
- Stop smoking
Remember, your health is in your hands!