Heart disease alert issued

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 April, 2000, 12:00am

Cardiovascular disease could get out of control unless Hong Kong people adopt a healthier lifestyle, a leading cardiologist has warned.

Between 25 and 35 per cent of deaths in the SAR are caused by artery disease or strokes and heart attacks. The figure is rising, and about 40 per cent of hospital admissions are related to such diseases - the product of an ageing population and rising living standards.

In 1997, deaths from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease peaked at 7,832, compared with 3,267 such deaths 30 years ago.

Yesterday Professor Woo Kam-sang, consultant cardiologist at the Chinese University's Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, said: 'Our main objective is to find protective mechanisms against heart disease.

'We'll try to formulate documentation and hopefully convince the Department of Health and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to lay down legislation for minimum requirements for the fast-food industry.' The professor said the Government appeared to be targeting nutrition and healthy living in schools.

'But these measures aren't getting across to people. The Government probably should propose better ways of conveying the message,' he said.

Hong Kong Chinese and mainlanders are showing disease patterns in line with those of Chinese communities overseas.

Professor Woo said: 'Our great concern is that what has happened in many Westernised Chinese communities will happen in Hong Kong and many modernised cities in mainland China.

Yesterday marked the inauguration of a new atherosclerosis centre at Chinese University.

The centre will conduct research on atherosclerosis disease, identify predisposing factors and foster greater awareness among health-care professionals.

Professor Julian Critchley, of the university's Department of Clinical Pharmacology, echoed Professor Woo's sentiments.

'There is no question that we are eating too much and exercising too little.

'If we continue not to exercise enough and eat too much fat, then there will be an explosion in heart disease,' he said.