Photo: Getty Images
It’s generally accepted that engaging in regular physical exercise is good for your heart health on many levels. Regular exercise lowers blood pressure, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and keeps the heart muscle itself in good shape enabling it to continue to properly do its job.
Keeping fit appeared to be a bit easier in past generations. Children were able to freely walk or ride their bikes to school. Our grandmothers often walked to the corner grocery store every day for fresh fruits and meats. Television did not yet totally dominate after school hours and Nintendo, home computers, and lap tops weren’t common -- or invented.
Life today is obviously very different, revolutionized in large part because of the automobile, along with television and home computing. There’s certainly no doubt that owning an auto makes the morning commute and other everyday tasks much easier.
According to findings released as a part of the INTERHEART study, the very conveniences that make our daily commute so easy and evenings so pleasant are also responsible for increasing our risk of heart attack.
Sponsored by the World Health Organization and World Heart Federation, the INTERHEART study included approximately 29,000 participants located in 55 countries. In this controlled study, around 10,000 participants were heart attack patients with the remainder showing no signs of heart disease.
Most of the research conducted on heart disease and risk factors for heart attack are based on studies conducted in developed countries. Since there is little data to assess the impact of these risk factors on specific ethnicities, geographies, or underdeveloped countries, the INTERHEART study focused on heart attack and risk factors within such defined geographies and ethnicities to determine if all risk factors applied equally.
According to study findings, persons from low and middle income countries who owned an auto or television are at greater risk for heart attack than their less affluent counterparts who didn’t own such luxuries.