An Apple Or A Pear?
It's more than a question of taste. Eating an apple is infinitely better than looking like one, according to experts at the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Humor aside, research has drawn significant links between body shape and heart disease. The American College of Cardiology is hoping to reshape America by highlighting this new health data on World Heart Day.
"People whose fat collects around the waist - the classic apple shape - are at higher risk of heart disease than their pear-shaped counterparts, whose weight collects around the hips," said Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of The Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. "The majority of heart disease is preventable."
This September 25th marks the fifth annual World Heart Day with a theme of "Healthy Weight, Healthy Shape." The effort will focus on preventive measures and seeks to remind people of the risks leading to cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Blumenthal added, "Cardiovascular disease is often not optimally managed. Often physicians could do a better job of motivating patients to improve their lifestyle habits."
World Heart Day provides a simple start to understanding the personal risk of heart disease, according to Blumenthal. "Where does your body collect fat? Is your body shape more like an apple or a pear?"
According to the ACC official guidelines for assessing the risk for cardiovascular disease, several factors are critical:
- cigarette smoking of any amount
- elevated blood pressure
- elevated LDL cholesterol
- diabetes mellitus
- advancing age
- physical inactivity
"Good health doesn't just happen. It takes work and awareness of one's habits," said Pamela Douglas, M.D., F.A.C.C., and president of the ACC. "Putting forth that effort to avoid heart disease is far preferable to dealing with its consequences. World Heart Day has proven to be an effective way to put a spotlight on the importance of prevention and the actions that all of us can take to keep our hearts healthy."
The ACC encourages individuals to work with their personal physicians to:
- manage blood pressure
- stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
- control the intake of calories
- increase exercise to at least 30 minutes for three or four days each week, with an ideal goal of daily exercise
- manage co-existing medical conditions, like diabetes.
World Heart Day is sponsored globally by the World Heart Federation and supported nationally by the American College of Cardiology. The ACC web site is www.acc.org.
The ACC is a 56-year-old professional medical society and teaching institution, representing more than 33,000 cardiovascular specialists worldwide. It fosters optimal cardiovascular care and disease prevention through professional education, promotion of research, leadership in the development of standards and guidelines and the formulation of healthcare policy.