Keeping our cardiovascular advantage
Minnesotans have a lower risk of heart disease than the general population according to recent findings from the Minnesota Heart Survey, a study of cardiovascular risk factors led by Lyn Steffen, associate professor of epidemiology.
“We think, from looking at these study findings, that what explains this difference in the cardiovascular mortality rate is that [some] risk factor levels are lower in Minnesotans,” says Steffen. Compared to national averages, Minnesotans smoke less and have healthier blood pressure levels.
How long the Minnesota advantage will last is unknown. Calorie intake has increased since the study was launched in 1980 and now 26 percent of Minnesotans qualify as obese—a high risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Steffen recommends that we pay attention to all the things that put us at jeopardy, and we can begin by simply improving our diets—adding more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables—and eating fewer calories.