Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death across Europe, responsible for two million deaths each year in people below the age of 75. Michael Livingston, Director of H.E.A.R.T UK, introduced the symposium by saying that diet plays an important role in the causation of cardiovascular disease even though we have drugs that effectively lower plasma cholesterol.
If lifestyle changes such as diet, weight control, smoking and physical activity were seriously addressed, then the rates of cardiovascular disease, and in particular coronary heart disease (CHD), in this country could be very much lower. Instead, there is concern about the amount of obesity, overweight, diabetes and hypertension that is increasingly seen in teenagers and children. This could lead to increased rates of CHD, and to parents commonly outliving their children.
The second Diet and Heart Health Symposium presented research in some of the key areas – dietary fat, vitamin B, homocysteine, vitamin K, the importance of insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome, and much more. One strong message from the symposium was how crucially important it is for health professionals to work together in order to put recommendations and strategies into practice effectively.
This second Diet and Heart Health Symposium was organised by the Hyperlipidaemia Education and Research Trust (H.E.A.R.T UK) and by Alpro, manufacturers of soya dairy- free alternatives. It was funded by an educational grant from Alpro. (The first Diet and Heart Health Symposium was reported in a supplement to The British Journal of Cardiology last year [Br J Cardiol 2003; 10: S1-S6].)