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`She'll Be Right' Kiwis Not Dealing With Disease

`She'll Be Right' Stops Kiwis From Dealing With Heart Disease Threat

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`SHE'LL BE RIGHT' STOPS KIWIS FROM DEALINHG WITH HEART DISEASE THREAT

Recent research shows that New Zealanders know that a healthy diet will reduce their chances of heart disease, the country's biggest killer. However, few seem to think that this lesson applies to them personally.

The Colmar Brunton Research poll of people over the age of 40 (undertaken for last week's Heart Week) has shown the "she'll be right" attitude is exhibited even by those with high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease.

An astounding 30 per cent of people whose cholesterol had been tested and found to be too high aren't bothering to do the easiest thing to help lower it - a simple change in diet. And less than half of those people with a family history of heart disease say they have changed their diet to lower their cholesterol.

And people aren't making excuses either. In fact, two thirds of people say they think it would be easy to change their diet to cut back on saturated fats and increase their intake of fruit, vegetables and cereals.

Sixty percent of people said that changing the spread they put on their bread to something like Flora pro.activ would be the simplest thing they could do to make a positive change in their diet.

However, the research reported that only one in five people have changed their diet to lower their cholesterol, and a third of those have made only minor changes or gone back to their old habits.

Professor Jim Mann, Professor of Human Nutrition at Otago University, says he is not in any way surprised at the results of the poll. "It's exactly what I would expect after so many years' clinical experience in this area," he says.

"I deal with people with high cholesterol every day of my life and the majority of people know that they should do something about their cholesterol, but just don't. Hopefully the results of this poll will make people sit up, take notice and actually do something about it."

The research was commissioned by the makers of Flora pro.activ, a spread containing plant sterols, which can reduce cholesterol uptake.

Brand manager for Flora pro.activ, Dave Elledge, said the research was undertaken so the company could gauge what people knew about cholesterol and diet, including the use of Flora pro.activ.

"Truth is, people know what to do and they even think it would be relatively easy. They're just not doing it because they don't think it affects them," he says.

According to the National Heart Foundation an estimated 40% of New Zealand men over 45 and women over 55 are at moderate to high risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.

Heart and blood vessel disease is by far the biggest killer in New Zealand with nearly 12,000 lives lost each year - 41% of all deaths annually.

Ends

A SNAPSHOT: WHAT DOES A 60 YEAR-OLD THINK ABOUT CHOLESTEROL?

The average age of a New Zealander experiencing their first heart attack is around 60 years-old. From the research undertaken, what does this group of people (60 - 69 year olds) think:

* They have a greater level of "general" concern than those aged under 50.

* Their personal level of concern is greater than those aged under 50.

* 58% have had their cholesterol tested within the last 12 months.

* 64% have discussed managing cholesterol with a GP or doctor.

BUT

* 60% don't feel they are at risk of developing heart disease.

* Only half of respondents aged 60 have changed their diet to lower their cholesterol.

RELEASED BY MEDIACOM

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