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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 00:15 GMT
English 'have healthier hearts'
Experts do not fully understand why Scotland's health record is so bad
People from England who live in Scotland are less likely to die from heart disease than those born north of the border, a study has found.

Researchers at Edinburgh University found those born in other parts of the UK who move to Scotland are 20% less likely to die from heart problems.

They suspect part of the reason is that many of those who move are well-off professionals with healthy lifestyles.

But the study suggested that this does not fully explain the difference.

Scotland has been branded the heart attack capital of Europe, with a combination of the population's smoking, drinking and eating habits largely to blame.

But the rate of heart disease among Scots is still higher than their lifestyles suggest it should be.

This difference could be because those who move are professionals, and we can speculate they are not taking on Scottish lifestyles
Dr Colin Fischbacher
Edinburgh University

A British Heart Foundation survey earlier this year found a heart attack is suffered every 15 minutes in Scotland, and 10% of Scots are believed to be living with some form of heart or circulatory disease.

The study of English-born people living in Scotland, published in the Scottish Medical Journal, showed they have a 22% lower death rate from heart disease than Scottish-born men.

For English women in Scotland, the rate is 20% lower.

Dr Colin Fischbacher, the lead author of the report, said the exact reasons for the difference were still not known.

He added: "This difference could be because those who move are professionals, and we can speculate they are not taking on Scottish lifestyles.

"But Scots seem to have worse rates of heart disease than even our bad lifestyles would explain.

"Whatever the reason, the English moving to Scotland seem to escape it."

Death certificates

The study also discovered Scots of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese origin are as likely to suffer heart disease as the general Scottish population.

This indicates they take on negative elements of the Scottish lifestyle which can lead to heart problems, researchers said.

Dr Fischbacher said: "People from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and China are traditionally at low risk of developing stroke or heart disease.

"But we can speculate that by adopting a Scottish lifestyle, taking less exercise and eating less healthily, they may be putting themselves at greater risk of these often fatal conditions."

These groups traditionally have lower rates of many diseases, including cancer, he added.

In many cases, this is due to religious or cultural considerations, such as not smoking or drinking.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the NHS National Services Scotland reached their findings by studying the death certificates of Scottish residents aged 25 or above, who died between 1997 and 2003.

They looked at about 300,000 certificates.

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