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Two thirds of Irish adults are eating more fat than their body needs

New stats on eating habits are being highlighted as part of a drive to reduce the number of heart disease and stroke victims. 10,000 people die annually as a result of the illnesses.

Image: Hamburger with fried egg via Shutterstock

WHILE ALMOST ALL adults questioned in a new survey on eating habits correctly identified that foods high in saturated fats are the main cause of high cholesterol, two thirds are still eating more fat than their body needs.

The findings are being highlighted by the Irish Heart Foundation as part of a drive to convince people to lower their intake of saturated and trans fats.

100,000 new cases of heart disease and stroke are diagnosed in Ireland every year, and almost 10,000 families lose a loved one to the illnesses annually.

The Behaviour & Attitudes survey found that 96 per cent of adults correctly identified that saturated fats led to high cholesterol. Four out of five adults aged over 45 are affected by high cholesterol levels – however, two thirds of these cases go untreated.

According to Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Angie Brown: “Cholesterol has become a household word and one which is often associated with a need to keep it as low as possible. Yet even today, many people are unaware of their levels or how to keep it at a healthy level.

It is a type of fat produced naturally by the liver and we need it for normal cell function, so not all cholesterol is bad. But LDL (bad cholesterol) can lead to plaque on artery walls and cause narrowing.

The IHF has published a set of ten facts, entitled ‘Fats of Life’, as part of a guide to cholesterol ahead of Irish Heart Month, taking place throughout September.

“We want people to understand the different types of cholesterol and how they are influenced by their diet and lifestyle, for example regular physical activity improves HDL, the good cholesterol,” Brown said.

“It’s also important to remember that cholesterol readings can change, especially as we get older which is why we recommend regular check ups and not a one-off check.”

More details on the campaign can be found here.

Read: “Be prepared” — Doctors get ready to go on strike >

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