Without effective intervention, cardiovascular disease will become epidemic in the near future in China," said Yufang Bi, study leader, Shanghai Jiao-Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai. Guang Ning, his colleague and senior author of the study, concurred and added, "Of the seven metrics, adhering to a healthy diet was the least common among all cardiovascular health metrics at 1.6 percent and similar between men and women.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in China, and the prevalence of diabetes in China has more than doubled over the last decade.
The study findings are based on data from 96,000 men and women in the general Chinese population. Researchers classified health as ideal, intermediate or poor according to seven behaviors and lifestyle factors set out by the American Heart Association (AHA)- smoking status, body mass index, physical activity, diet, untreated total cholesterol, untreated blood pressure, and untreated fasting plasma glucose levels.
The study found just 0.2 percent of men and women in world's most populous country to be in ideal cardiovascular health. Only 5 percent of men and 22 percent of women ranked ideal in terms of four leading health factors- body mass index, physical activity, diet and not smoking.
Study lead Yufang Bi and senior author Guang Ning said, "Without effective intervention, cardiovascular disease will become epidemic in the near future in China. Of the seven metrics, adhering to a healthy diet was the least common among all cardiovascular health metrics at 1.6 percent and similar between men and women."
Researchers urged China to adopt a nationwide strategy for improving the health of its citizens. Valentin Fuster, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, said, "While China is tremendously advanced technologically, the country faces a terrible burden of cardiovascular disease, as demonstrated by this study and others. The nation would benefit from a strategic country-wide approach aimed at lessening each of the risk factors, along with regional and individual educational efforts."