Nutritional Status

Cardiovascular disease (e.g., coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension) is the most common cause of death in these countries, and smoking rates are high. Obesity is the fastest growing chronic disease, especially among children. Alcoholism is high, especially among the Irish.

France's low rate of heart disease has been termed the "French Paradox." The theory is that France's low rate of heart disease is due to the regular consumption of wine, despite the high intake of saturated fats. However, recent evidence suggests that the rate of heart disease in France may have been underestimated and underreported, for while the rate of heart disease is lower in France than most countries, it is still the number one cause of death in France. In addition, the consumption of saturated fat has increased, which will eventually result in increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), regardless of wine intake.

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