Denmark is the country in the EU where cardiovascular disease mortality rates have dropped the most, according to a report in the journal for doctors, Ugeskrift for Læger.
Between 1985 and 2009, the number of Danes who died from cardiovascular disease fell by 70 percent, and then a further 20 percent between 2009 and 2012, the report found.
According to Steen Stender, a doctor and co-author of the report, the significant drop is due to efforts aimed at promoting increased exercise, better diets and quitting smoking, but a ban on artificial trans-fatty acids in food has been a massive factor.
“In 2003 Denmark became the first nation in the world to ban this kind of trans-fat,” Stender told Ugeskrift for Læger. “Research shows that digesting five grams of trans-fatty acids every day increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 20 percent.”
Better than the neighbours
Stender went on to point out that Norway and Sweden, who don’t have a ban on trans-fatty acids, usually perform better in health statistics than Denmark, so indications are that the ban has had an effect.
“The three nations are quite equal when it comes to smoking, diet, exercise and treatment,” Stender said. “We can’t prove the connection, but we can see that Denmark has passed Norway and Sweden.”
The doctor also underlined that the development of hospital treatment was also responsible for the dwindling mortality rates and that it could become rare for Danes to die of cardiovascular disease by 2020 if the mortality trend continues.