Recent research released by BUPA and the World Heart Foundation on World Heart Day on 29 September 2015, made some disturbing findings about Australia’s heart age. This study looked at the correlation between employment and the level of activity at work, in relation to heart age.

The findings were as follows:

1.  Not taking a lunch break adds one year to the predicted heart age.

2.  Active sedentary jobs, (and to me this sounded somewhat like an oxymoron), for example, medical professionals, retail and sales staff who are usually on their feet, had the lowest heart age. The problem with lumping medical professionals into this discussion is that many doctors (such as myself) have mainly an office practice whereas other doctors have a hospital practice where they are wandering around the hospital for most of the day. Many surgeons spend the day standing as opposed to physicians who are sitting consulting with patients. It is therefore difficult to call one group active-sedentary.

3.  Australian tradies have an average heart age eight years older than their real age.

4.  Australian’s heart age was worse than the US and New Zealand.

5.  The average Australian heart age was 2.9 years older than their real age.

But the problem with this entire scenario is the calculation of heart age. They basically used a questionnaire where they looked at age, gender, self-reported quality of diet, exercise, smoking history, history of diabetes, history of high blood pressure or a personal family history of cardiovascular disease.

There is no doubt that self-reported questionnaires are very unreliable. On a more humorous note it could be that Australians are more honest than people from the US and New Zealand and it is more than likely that tradies are more honest than people who are performing active sedentary jobs.

In my own practice as a cardiologist I have much more accurate techniques of calculating heart age rather than just self-reported questionnaires.