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University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
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Cardiovascular disease

A heart shaped biscuit lies broken in two.The World Health Organisation MONICA study (MONitoring trends and determinants in CArdiovascular disease) has collected data on CVD and risk factors over a ten year period in 21 countries. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is currently the most common cause of premature death in the UK – that is death before the age of 75. It is more likely to kill you than any other single cause. CVD is a result of an interplay of genetic and environmental factors, but whether or not an individual is genetically susceptible they will be less likely to develop CVD if they are not overweight, do not smoke, do not have high blood pressure and take regular exercise.

These facts have been so well publicised that there must be very few adults who can genuinely claim to be unaware of them. And yet the majority of adults and a growing number of young people are overweight, many smoke and do not take exercise.

 MONICA project where “you can find the data tables on risk of CVD associated with smoking, blood pressure and weight.”


  • Why do you think people continue to ignore the warnings related to lifestyle and CVD?
  • Should there be laws to restrict the availability of foods with high fat and sugar content?
  • Is it reasonable to treat very overweight people differently when they seek health care?


Next: Smoking


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