Risk factors for coronary heart disease were compared in fifth year boys (15-16 years old) from two schools that were chosen from localities with a fourfold difference in adult mortality from coronary heart disease. One school was in an underprivileged urban locality in the area of increased incidence of heart disease ('high risk') and the other in a semi-rural affluent locality with an incidence of heart disease similar to the national average ('low risk'). Smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, obesity, physical fitness, and inactivity were evaluated as risk factors for coronary heart disease. Smoking, increased body fat, poor diet, and physical inactivity were found increased among pupils from the school in the high risk area compared with those in the low risk area. Lipids, maximum oxygen uptake, and hypertension were similar in both schools. The risk of coronary heart disease seems to reflect the adult mortality rates in the area. To reduce the overall incidence of coronary heart disease, health education should be directed towards prevention of smoking, improving diets, and increasing amounts of activity among school children, with special attention directed toward children in regions where there is a high mortality from coronary heart disease among adults.
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