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September 15, 1989

Preventive Cardiologists Unready to Declare Victory in War Against Coronary Heart Disease

JAMA. 1989;262(11):1432. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430110016004

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HEART DISEASE mortality in the United States has been falling by about 3% per year since the mid-1960s. But the message from the Second International Conference on Preventive Cardiology is: "This is no time to relax."

Two decades ago, the United States had the second highest mortality from coronary heart disease in the world, exceeded only by Finland. Today, the United States ranks 15th in this regard.

During the preventive cardiology conference in Washington, DC, Jeremiah Stamler, MD, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill, pointed out that, among men in the United States, there has been a 50% reduction in mortality from coronary heart disease during this period and an even greater reduction in mortality from stroke. Nor is it limited to men, he says: "It is seen in women also, in blacks and whites, across the entire age span from 35 to 84 years."

Decline Uneven  But heart disease