Risk factors

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A healthy diet helps to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Eating well can protect you against diabetes and some cancers, keep your weight in check and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, which all increase your risk of heart disease.

Overall intake of calories, fat and saturated fat has decreased since the 1970s. People consume less sugar and salt now compared to then, and there has also been an increase in the amount of fibre and fruit and vegetables in our diets.

However, the average intake of fibre is too low and only around a third of both men and women currently consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables.

Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), which increases our risk of developing heart disease. At 6.8-10g, the average salt intake in the UK is above the target of 6g per day. Consumption levels in women are lower.

Further statistics can be found in our publications Coronary Heart Disease Statistics 2012 and Children and Young People Statistics 2013.


Overall levels

Socioeconomic differences

Ethnic differences

Regional differences

International differences

Time trends