Shape of the Nations survey reveals need to follow up and manage risk factors linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease

    Annual check-up should include waist circumference measurement and
    assessment of other cardiometabolic risk factors

    LAVAL, QC, Oct. 4 /CNW/ - Results from a survey(1) conducted in 28
countries, including Canada, reveal that while physicians are more aware today
of the link between abdominal fat and the development of type 2 diabetes and
heart disease, they are still more likely to screen and manage classic risk
factors such as pre-diabetes, high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and high
blood pressure than they are to screen and manage emerging risk factors such
as abdominal obesity, low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and high levels of
triglycerides (a form of fat in the blood).
    The survey also revealed that, among the general population surveyed,
abdominal obesity is still being perceived as less of a health risk than
obesity in general. Sixty-nine per cent rated overall obesity as a high risk
factor for diabetes and heart disease, compared to 56 per cent who rated
abdominal obesity as a high risk factor for these diseases.
    "The Shape of the Nations survey results highlight the need for both
physicians and patients to recognize the many risk factors that are linked to
type 2 diabetes and heart disease," says Dr. Arya M. Sharma, Scientific
Director of the Canadian Obesity Network. "Until now, individual risk factors
have been looked at in isolation but, as a medical community, we are now
recognizing the importance of assessing and monitoring both the classic and
emerging risk factors as a whole to give our patients the best chance for
optimum health."

    Health risks associated with abdominal obesity

    While physicians increasingly acknowledge that abdominal obesity is a
cardiometabolic risk factor, this does not appear to align with the relatively
small number of Canadian patients who recall that their physician had spoken
to them about the importance of waist circumference measurement and the health
dangers associated with abdominal obesity.
    Despite an increase of 13 per cent over 2006, less than half (43%) of
at-risk patients stated that their physician or nurse had spoken to them about
the importance of measuring waist circumference. The majority, however, stated
that they had discussions about their weight (79%) and "bad" LDL cholesterol
    Among the general population, less than one-third (30%) stated that their
physician had a conversation with them about the importance of measuring waist
circumference, and only 15 per cent reported that their waist had even been
    "From my experience in daily practice, engaging patients in their health
is the best way to educate and reinforce the importance of better managing
their cardiometabolic risk," says Dr. Richard Tytus, family physician,
researcher and Canadian Obesity Network member. "When it comes to assessing
abdominal obesity, which we now know is an important cardiometabolic risk
factor, the tape measure is still the most inexpensive tool we have at our
disposal to help our patients."
    According to the Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management
and Prevention of Obesity in Adults and Children, published in April 2007 in
the Canadian Medical Association Journal, a healthy waist size is generally
considered to be 80 cm (32 inches) for women, and 94 cm (37 inches) for men.

    Patients overestimate awareness levels

    The survey revealed that a large gap exists between physicians and the
general public when it comes to the patient's level of knowledge of risk
factors and their ability to manage risk. Only six per cent of physicians
surveyed believe that their patients are well educated on how to control
cardiometabolic risk factors. Yet, 68 per cent of at-risk patients and
54 per cent of the general population said they feel adequately informed on
how to control cardiometabolic risk factors.
    "It's important that we begin to close this gap," says Dr. Sharma, who
notes that the level of abdominal obesity in Canada is close to 50 per
cent.(2) Every increase in waist circumference of 14 cm for men and 14.9 cm
for women raises a person's likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease by
up to 40 per cent.(3)

    The Five-Point Healthy Heart Check

    The Shape of the Nations 2007 Survey findings demonstrate a clear need
for more education among both patients and physicians to better understand
cardiometabolic risk factors.
    "It is particularly important that people with abdominal obesity who are
at risk for type 2 diabetes or heart disease ask their doctor about the
five-point healthy heart check," says Dr. Sharma. The five-point healthy heart
checklist includes measurement of waist circumference, blood sugar, good and
bad cholesterol, triglycerides (a form of fat in the blood) and blood
    "Annual check-ups are an ideal time for physicians to assess all of their
patients' cardiometabolic risk factors, and take the action required to help
their patients reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease,"
concluded Dr. Tytus.

    About the survey

    The Shape of the Nations survey was commissioned by sanofi-aventis and
conducted by IFOP, a global market research firm. In Canada, 410 people were
polled. The survey is supported by The Canadian Obesity Network and the World
Heart Federation, whose Canadian members are the Heart and Stroke Foundation
of Canada and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

    About sanofi-aventis

    Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers,
develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of
everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT : SAN) and in New York
    In Canada, sanofi-aventis employs more than 1,000 people and is
headquartered in Laval, Quebec.

    About the Canadian Obesity Network

    The Canadian Obesity Network (CON) links obesity researchers with the
private sector, practitioners, and policy-makers to foster innovations and
investments toward cost-effective solutions to prevent, control and treat
    CON is funded by the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence Program
(, a joint initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering
Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social
Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Industry Canada. For more
information please visit

    About the World Heart Federation

    The World Heart Federation, a non-governmental organization based in
Geneva, Switzerland, is committed to helping the global population achieve a
longer and better life through prevention and control of heart disease and
stroke, with a particular focus on low and middle-income countries. It is
comprised of 195 member societies of cardiology and heart foundations from 100
countries covering the regions of Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas and
Africa. For further information visit:

    B-roll will be available at the following times/coordinates:
    Date:           Thursday, October 4, 2007

    Time:           10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
                    2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Coordinates:    Anik F2 C
                    Transponder 7B
                    Audio subcarrier 6.2 and 6.8
                    Downlink frequency 3980 vertical


    (1) Shape of the Nations Survey, 2007. Conducted by IFOP North America.
        Data on file sanofi-aventis
    (2) Haffner S, on behalf of the IDEA Executive Committee. Waist
        Circumference and Body Mass Index are both independently associated
        with cardiovascular disease. The International Day for the Evaluation
        of Abdominal Obesity (IDEA) Survey. Abstract presentation at the 55th
        Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology,
    (3) Ibid.

For further information:

For further information: Rachel Manna, Manning Selvage & Lee, (416)

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