NEWS

Obesity weighs heavy on hearts in Greece

Greeks have won Europe’s heavyweight title after European Parliament statistics recently showed that if people don’t start changing their eating habits within two years, Greece will be the first and only country where the average mass body weight among the general population will be over 28 kilograms per square meter. Those with a mass body weight of 25-29.9 kg/m2 are considered overweight. The country has an equally poor record with regard to cardiovascular attacks. According to World Health Organization figures from 1970 to 2004, mortality from heart attacks in people over 65 grew by 39 percent in Greece, but decreased by 44 percent in Germany, 58 percent in France, 61 percent in Italy and 75 percent in the Netherlands. An estimated 20,000 people suffer heart attacks in Greece every year. These figures were just some of those published Tuesday ahead of the 23rd International Conference on Clinical Cardiology being held by the Greek Cardiology Foundation from May 1-3. Leading cardiologists Professor Pavlos Toutouzas, Giorgios Andrikopoulos, Vaileios Votteas, Zinon Kyriakidis and Dimitrios Richter commented on measures the Health Ministry is to take to confront the smoking epidemic and to set up smoke-free areas. According to the experts, Greece has delayed introducing disincentives to smokers and that is having a direct effect on people’s health. A ban on smoking in all public places in Ireland, France and Italy resulted in a reduction in the number of heart attacks ranging from 11-15 percent within the first year. In Greece that would mean 3,000 fewer heart attacks, 3,000 fewer strokes and about 450 fewer deaths from heart attacks within a single year. The experts have warned people against overeating at Easter, particularly those who suffer from coronary disease.