Sophia Antipolis, France, 25 September 2005: Playing anincreasingly important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease(CVD), controlling one's weight through healthy eating and regularexercise can directly reduce the risk of heart disease and also theimpact of an existing heart condition. The European Society ofCardiology (ESC) joins the World Heart Federation in trumpeting theimportance of 'Healthy Weight, Healthy Shape for a Heart for Life' onWorld Heart Day, 25 September 2005.
Through its recent annualscientific event, the ESC Congress 2005, held in Stockholm, 3-7September, the ESC uncovered various results with respect to weightcontrol and exercise and CVD.
According to one study revealedduring the ESC Congress by Professor Sans Menéndez, obesity isincreasing in both sexes and at all ages in nearly all Europeancountries due to a steady increase of total caloric intake and absenceof sufficient daily exercise. In Southern Europe, ProfessorSansMenéndez said that a departure from traditional Mediterranean dietstoward manufactured foods may be contributing to the trend. She alsopointed out that strong marketing pressure to consume foods high intotal fat, refined sugar and salt makes children particularlyvulnerable.
With regard to sport, two medical experts who spokeduring the ESC Congress, Professors Hambrecht and Schmid, both agreedon the benefits of physical exercise as a preventive measure againstheart disease. Professor Hambrecht said that moderately active personswere 30-40% less likely to die from heart disease as compared to theinactive, sedentary person. He went on to say that despite this solidepidemiologic evidence, the proportion of people who do not engage insports at all continues to increase. He added that lack of sports isclosely related to the epidemic of other risk factors for future heartattacks: Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and elevatedcholesterol levels. According to Professor Schmid, moderate aerobictraining in most coronary artery disease patients is safe and can alsohelp their condition. In these patients, he said, exercise trainingshould be started under supervision, ideally in a structuredrehabilitation program, which allows them to accustom themselves toregular physical exercise, to learn about their physical limits and toreliably determine the adequate exercise intensity.
Other resultsgiven at the Congress included those from EuroAction1, an ESCinitiative, which showed that coronary patients can reduce the risk offuture cardiovascular events by modifying their behaviour. This studyis ongoing and is being conducted through the implementation of theJoint European Societies' Guidelines on CVD prevention2 by nurse-ledteams in busy general hospitals in eight countries. So far, EuroActionpatients and their partners have achieved improvements in lifestyle,other cardiovascular risk factors and in the use of cardio-protectivemedication. Patients have stopped smoking, reduced their consumption ofsaturated (or 'bad') fats, increased daily intake of fruits andvegetables, and achieved greater levels of physical activity. Other CVDrisk factors (e.g. weight and shape, blood pressure, and blood fatprofile) all improved, and the vast majority were prescribedcardio-protective medicines. Patients' partners also adopted ahealthier diet and increased their physical activity with correspondingreductions in weight and shape, blood pressure and blood fats.
1.Wood DA, Kotseva K, Jennings C, Mead A, Jones J, Holden A, Connolly S,De Bacquer D, De Backer G on behalf of the EuroAction Study Group.EUROACTION: A European Society of Cardiology demonstration project inpreventive cardiology. A cluster randomised controlled trial of amulti-disiplinary preventive cardiology programme for coronarypatients, asymptomatic high risk individuals and their families.Summary of design, methodology, and outcomes. European Heart JournalSupplements. December 2004; Volume 6, Supplement J1. EuroAction issolely sponsored by AstraZeneca through the provision of anunconditional educational grant.
2. European Guidelines onCardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice. Executivesummary: European Heart Journal 2003; 24(17): 1601-1610 and EuropeanJournal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation 2003; 10(4):S1-S11.
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC)
TheEuropean Society of Cardiology (ESC) represents more than 45,000cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. Itsmission is to improve the quality of life of the European population byreducing the impact of cardiovascular disease.
The ESC achievesthis through a variety of scientific and educational activitiesincluding the coordination of: clinical practice guidelines, educationcourses and initiatives, pan-European surveys on specific disease areasand the ESC Annual Congress, the largest medical meeting in Europe.Furthermore, the ESC promotes cardiovascular disease preventionmessages to the general public, most notably during its annual 'ForYour Heart's Sake' event, a fun yet educational event offering riskassessment and prevention advice, held in parallel to the Congress eachyear.
The ESC comprises 2 Councils, 4 Associations, 23 WorkingGroups and 49 National Cardiac Societies. Both the ESC Congress and'For Your Heart's Sake' take place in late August/early September eachyear in a European 'Heart-Healthy City'. The World Congress ofCardiology 2006, to be held from 2-6 September in Barcelona, Spain,will be a unique occasion bringing together the ESC Congress 2006 andthe World Heart Federation's XVth World Congress of Cardiology.
TheESC administrative headquarters are based at the European Heart House,Sophia Antipolis, France. For more information on the ESC, Congress andinitiatives, see www.escardio.org.
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