Despite great improvements in diagnostic methods and treatment in recent decades, the number of heart attacks in Greece has increased by 40 percent since 1980, and has more than doubled over the past 40 years, doctors said yesterday. According to papers presented at a Thessaloniki national conference on arteriosclerosis, this results from the poor diet and sedentary lifestyles of contemporary society. Thessaloniki University Professor Georgios Ziakas said Greeks have abandoned Mediterranean eating habits. «They consume more fatty acids, mostly from animal fat, while olive oil, fruit, fresh vegetables and pulses are no longer part of their daily diet,» he said. «This leads to higher cholesterol, which is the principal risk factor in the development of arteriosclerosis.» Ziakas added that smoking – which is on the increase among young people, and especially young women – together with the switch from manual labor to office jobs (which is seldom compensated for with physical exercise) cause further harm.