It takes many years of observation and research to identify a risk factor. People had been smoking for several hundred years before it was proved that smoking was dangerous. It was only after it had been suggested that smoking could be a risk factor that studies could be done to test and prove this.
Whole communities of young people have to have their blood pressures, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol examined and tested , and then observed over many years to see if they get heart attacks or die earlier compared to those without these risk factors.
Recently, it has been reported that small babies who become overweight after the age of two years are more likely to die from heart attacks when they are adults than children who remain the correct weight for their age.
It is important for babies and young children to be given a healthy, low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt diet, as well as staying physically fit. They should also stay slim and not become overweight. If children get into good eating habits, they are less likely to die young from a heart attack.
It has been known for 100 years that people who died from a heart attack had fat (cholesterol) in their arteries. Over the last 50 years, it has been confirmed that people with a lot of cholesterol in their blood are more likely to get angina and have a heart attack. The high cholesterol level is partly due to diet but there are other factors, for example, genetic factors, that are not fully understood.
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