A 52-nation study of 26,000 people has proven that unhealthy lifestyles, and even fat tummies, make Indians and South Asians prone to a first heart attack as early as 53 years, compared to 58.8 years in other nations.
“The reason why South Asians suffer heart attacks at a younger age was a riddle. We have now solved it,’’ Dr Prashant Joshi of the Government Medical College, Nagpur, and lead author of the paper published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association told HT.
The five-year research that included 470 first-heart-attack patients from India, and researchers at AIIMS, Delhi, and St John’s Medical College, Bangalore, found that Indian and South Asian participants did not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. They also scored low on regular exercise (only 6 per cent exercised) compared to the rest of the world (30 per cent).
“South Asians get heart attacks at a younger age because their major risk factors are higher,” said Joshi. “India is facing an epidemic of early heart attacks, so preventive strategies should be started aggressively and earlier.” The team found that alcohol intake posed a major heart attack risk for Indians, but there was no such link for participants from other nations.
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal make up almost a quarter of the world population and have the highest proportion of cardiovascular diseases, globally. Next time you ignore the salad bowl, think twice.