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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
'Brave' heart disease action plea
Heart attack victim
Men and women in Scotland top the UK's heart disease table
Scotland has the UK's highest rates of premature death from heart disease, figures show.

The British Heart Foundation said women in Scotland were twice as likely to die from the disease as those in south-west England.

It said 81 out of every 100,000 women aged between 35 and 74 died in Scotland from heart disease in 2004 - compared with 40 in the south-west.

Experts gathering in Edinburgh called for a "brave" plan of action.

The BHF figures suggested that men in Scotland aged between 35 and 74 died from heart disease at the rate of 221 per 100,000 in 2004, a drop of nearly 10% on the year before.

We still have a long way to go if we are to rid Scottish towns and cities of their tag as the UK's worst heart disease hotspots
Ben McKendrick

The female death rate from heart disease in Scotland has halved in the past decade.

Speaking in Edinburgh, the BHF's Ben McKendrick said too many people were dying at a young age.

"The Scottish Executive has made some bold moves which are undoubtedly benefiting Scots' health," he said.

"We remain concerned that the improvements in smoking rates and physical activity, which have led to a decline in deaths, could be undone by the rising levels of childhood obesity.

Death rates

"To prevent today's girls and boys having their lives cut short by heart disease in future, we urge the executive to continue making brave moves to give Scotland a chance of achieving parity with the rest of the UK.

"But we still have a long way to go if we are to rid Scottish towns and cities of their tag as the UK's worst heart disease hotspots."

After Scotland, the north-east of England has the highest heart disease rate for women, with a death rate of 72 per 100,000.

South-east England had the lowest heart disease rates for men at 138 per 100,000, while the south-west of the country had the UK's lowest female rates.

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