Providence: The Hub of Heart Attacks?
Thursday, October 04, 2012
In the popular magazine's latest assessment, "Cities at Risk for Heart Disease," Providence was given a near-failing grade of D and #78 ranking among 100 major metropolitan cities. The healthiest heart city? San Francisco. The heart attack capital? Philadelphia.
How they got the numbers
Men's Health based its ranking on a variety of measures. Researchers identified the death rates from heart disease, and then factored in various risk factors, including the number of people who smoke, don't exercise, are overweight or obese along with the number who have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol based on findings from the CDC. Researchers at Men's Health also checked how many people use cholesterol lowering medication, and even how many households floss because inflammation from gum disease can lead to heart disease. Men's Health even included bad air quality in its calculations.
Healthiest cardiac capitals
Where is cardiac risk at the lowest, according to Men's Health? Here's the top 10:
1. San Francisco, CA (A+)
2. Aurora, CO (A+)
3. Seattle, WA (A+)
4. Austin, TX (A+)
5. Colorado Springs, CO (A+)
6. Burlington, VT (A+)
7. Minneapolis, MN (A+)
8. Portland, OR (A+)
9. Boise City, ID (A)
10. Oakland, CA (A)
Heart attack hubs
Although Providence ranked in the lower 25% of the nation's top metropolitan areas, there were cities that posted even greater risks when it came to cardiac health. The Bottom 10 in Men's Health ranking were:
91. Tulsa, OK (F)
92. Cleveland, OH (F)
93. Buffalo, NY (F)
94. Toledo, OH (F)
95. Milwaukee, WI (F)
96. St. Louis, MO (F)
97. Baltimore, MD (F)
98. Charleston, WV (F)
99. Birmingham, AL (F)
100. Philadelphia, PA (F)
Providence's heart health statistics
It's a sobering view from the CDC's Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, which reveals that 1 in 4 deaths in Rhode Island comes as a result of heart disease. Heart disease was responsible for 28% of the deaths in Rhode Island for 2009 with 2,718 deaths. (Strokes also accounted for 4.3% of deaths in Rhode Island with 421 deaths in 2009.)
The Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention also provides statistics concerning what factors put Rhode Islanders at risk for heart disease and stroke. The study overturned the commonly held notion that smoking and high blood pressure are the primary indicators for heart disease and stroke. Only 17% of those at risk for heart disease or stroke are current smokers and 28.4% of them have high blood pressure. Instead, 50.1% of those in risk of heart disease or stroke have failed to exercise in the past 50 days. 60.8% of those in risk are overweight or obese (Body Mass Index greater or equal to 25.0). Finally, a tremendous 74.4% of Rhode Islanders at risk for heart disease and stroke eat fruit and vegetables less than 5 times a day.
What you can do
Want to turn those numbers around and decrease your own risk? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service launched Million Hearts in 2011 to educate Rhode Islanders on proper dieting and healthy habits such as exercising. Getting fresh vegetables at a farmer's market, going for a run around Roger Williams Park or walking around WaterFire for the night can help your health far more than you think. For more information on the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program’s efforts to stop heart disease and stroke, go here.
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