CVD expert calls for mandatory screening of 18 year-old Mexicans

November 23, 2013

A cardiovascular disease (CVD) expert is calling for mandatory screening of 18 year-old Mexicans to halt the CVD epidemic plaguing the nation. Cardiovascular risk factors will be a key theme at the Mexican Congress of Cardiology, held 23 to 27 November in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. The Congress is organised by the Mexican Society of Cardiology (MSC) and features a collaborative programme with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Dr Enrique C. Morales Villegas, Director of the Cardiometabolic Research Centre in Aguascalientes, Mexico, said: "I have proposed to the Mexican government that 18 year-olds should have obligatory measurements of glucose, cholesterol, and (BMI), with repeat assessment every three years. Screening could be done in schools, shopping centres and other public places and if an abnormality is found a strategy should be in place to treat it. This would be easy and inexpensive and I am waiting for the government's response."

He added: "The Mexican diet is more dangerous than . It's a combination of fried food, junk food and soft drinks. The philosophy of life is around comfort. People eat too much and everyday they watch 4 hours of TV, spend 2 hours at the computer and do less than 10 minutes of physical activity."

Dr Morales continued: "This combination of poor diet and sedentary lifestyles is the main cause of Mexico's obesity epidemic. Obesity is not just an aesthetic problem, it's a profound health problem and the consequences are diabetes, hypertension () and hypercholesterolaemia (high blood lipids) – all known as cardiometabolic . This explains the very high mortality from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in Mexico."

Mortality from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes rose by 9.5% in just one year, from 189 000 in 2009 to 207 000 in 2010. The latest Mexican National Survey of Health and Nutrition (1) reveals that 73% of women, 69% of men and 35% of adolescents are overweight or obese (BMI >25kg/m2). Dr Morales said: "The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Mexico is one of the highest in the world and the problem is increasing in all age groups. Obesity begins in childhood and persists into adolescence and adulthood."

The survey also shows that diabetes is increasing in men, women and children of all ages, with an estimated adult prevalence of 14-16%. Diabetes is highest (up to 18%) in the states of Mexico City, México State, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, Tamaulipas Durango and San Luis Potosi. Dr Morales said: "These states have a high prevalence of obesity and a high fat diet which explains the amount of diabetes."

An average of 31% of adults in Mexico have hypertension. Levels increase with age and two-thirds of 70 year-olds have hypertension. An average of 40% of Mexicans have high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).

Dr Morales said: "In addition to the high prevalence of in Mexico we have low detection. Just 50% of people with diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolaemia know they have it. Of those who do know, only 50% receive treatment. And of those treated, just 50% reach the treatment goals in the ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines on diabetes,(2) hypertension (3) and hypercholesterolaemia.(4) At the end of the day just 12.5% of people with one cardiovascular risk factor have it detected, treated and controlled."

He continued: "Mandatory screening of cardiovascular risk factors is needed to improve detection in the current population. In addition, education on healthy diet and physical activity is needed in schools to prevent CVD risk factors developing in future generations."

Dr Juan Verdejo Paris, MSC President, said: "We need to modify the 'Mexican way of life' and perform the latest procedures to treat . The traditional Mexican diet is rich in carbohydrates and fat and in recent years exercise has diminished a lot, especially among children in schools. We need to change public perceptions so that our children become more active and eat more healthily."

Professor Fausto Pinto, ESC President Elect, said: "ESC prevention guidelines advocate a healthy diet as the cornerstone to CVD prevention, along with physical activity and a healthy body weight.(5) During the Congress in Mexico ESC experts will share their insights and experience on how to prevent and control factors."

Explore further: Low BMI is a risk factor for CVD in hypertensive patients with diabetes

More information: References

(1) Gutierrez JP, Rivera-Dommarco J, Shamah-Levy T, Villalpando-Hernandez S, Franco A, Cuevas-Nasu L, Romero-Martinez M, Hernandez-Avila M. Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutricion 2012. Resultados Nacionales. Cuernavaca, Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica (MX), 2012. Mexican National Survey of Health and Nutrition (Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutrición; ENSANUT) 2012. ensanut.insp.mx/

(2) 2013 ESC guidelines on the management of stable coronary artery disease: The Task Force on the management of stable coronary artery disease of the European Society of Cardiology. European Heart Journal. 2013;34(38):2949-3003.

(3) 2013 ESH/ESC Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension: The Task Force for the management of arterial hypertension of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). European Heart Journal. 2013;34:2159.

(4) ESC/EAS Guidelines for the management of dyslipidaemias: The Task Force for the management of dyslipidaemias of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS). European Heart Journal. 2011;32:1769.

(5) European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice (version 2012): The Fifth Joint Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and Other Societies on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice (constituted by representatives of nine societies and by invited experts). European Heart Journal. 2012;33:1635.

Related Stories

Low BMI is a risk factor for CVD in hypertensive patients with diabetes

September 3, 2013
Low BMI is a risk factor for CVD in hypertensive patients with diabetes, according to research presented at the ESC Congress today by Dr Takanori Nagahiro from Japan. The findings provide evidence for an obesity paradox in ...

Metabolically healthy women have same CVD risk regardless of BMI

September 2, 2013
Metabolically healthy women have the same cardiovascular disease risk regardless of their BMI, according to research presented at the ESC Congress today by Dr Søren Skøtt Andersen and Dr Michelle Schmiegelow from Denmark. ...

Metabolically healthy obesity does not guarantee clean bill of health

November 20, 2013
Obese people who are currently metabolically healthy face a higher risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to new research accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical ...

Cardiovascular complications of type 2 diabetes associated with levels of physical activity

November 13, 2013
The risk of cardiovascular complications in people with type 2 diabetes is directly related to the frequency and duration of physical exercise, according to results of a large follow-up study reported today on World Diabetes ...

Life expectancy lowered by ten years in obese children

November 21, 2013
In Mexico, overweight or obese children could suffer a step back in life expectancy by up to 10 years.

CVD time bomb set to explode in Gulf region in 10-15 years

February 12, 2013
With one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, the Gulf region is facing an epidemic of cardiovascular disease. At least 50% of the population is below the age of 25 and the high prevalence of risk factors signals ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.