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Article
November 10, 1956

HEALTH HABITS AND HEART DISEASE-CHALLENGE IN PREVENTIVE MEDICINE

JAMA. 1956;162(11):1021-1024. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970280001001
Abstract

• A comparison of health habits has been made between a test group of 100 patients with manifest coronary disease and a contratest group of 200 people with the same distribution of ages and occupations but without coronary disease. The importance of dietary habits is illustrated by the finding that only 27% of the test patients had average diets with a variety of food and an apparent balance between caloric intake and energy output, while 60% of the contratest group had a satisfactory nutritional status. The exercise patterns differed significantly also, with 70% of the test group showing no regular exercise patterns either at work or away from it, as compared with 30% of the contratest group. No influence of tobacco or of alcohol was evident in this study, but, among the patients who survived a coronary attack, 71 % have been using alcohol in moderation anywhere from 1 to 10 years since the attack, and in this group all claim beneficial effects with less anxiety. Stress patterns were found to be important, but occupational titles were not reliable as indicators of occupational stress. Preventive measures should be taken if the heart rate and diastolic pressure show a sustained rise, regardless of electrocardiographic findings, and such measures become urgent if there is hypercholesteremia, xanthomatosis, or diabetes. There is evidence that the real culprits in coronary disease are not hard work, overexercise, or occupational stress but sedentary living and poor health habits.

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