Heart disease and stroke mortality rates in high-income countries have almost stopped falling, and even in some countries, a new study has revealed. For the study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers at the University of Melbourne analyzed trends in cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke – in 23 high-income countries since 2000.
The study found that mortality rates for heart disease were now decreasing or increasing for 35- to 74-year-olds in 12 of the 23 countries. Rates of cardiovascular disease mortality among US and Canadian females have increased in recent years, with the annual decline in mortality from cardiovascular diseases in Australia, the UK, and New Zealand now ranging from 20 to 50 percent.
“Research suggests that escalation or at least not eating is a significant contributing factor in slowing the decline in cardiovascular disease mortality,” said Professor Alan Lopez of the University of Melbourne.
“Each of these countries has a very high obesity problem. In Australia, one-third of adults have obesity,” Lopez said.
Researchers note that obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease deaths – others include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. “Failure to address these issues could end the long-term decline in cardiovascular disease deaths, and life expectancy threatens future benefits.” The co-author of the study is Tim Adair, a researcher at Varsity.