Kottke: Half of the college freshmen at the University of Minnesota now smoke. Between 40 and 45 percent of high school seniors in Olmsted County smoke at least monthly. The decline in serum cholesterol that we saw in through the '70s and '80s has stopped. People are getting more obese. Diabetes is increasing. And hypertension control has either declined or is not improving.Kottke says fast food chains have made it convenient and inexpensive to eat foods that are high in fat. And he blames a decrease in exercise on the microchip and misplaced priorities.
Kottke: Nobody runs for the phone anymore because you either have a cellphone or a portable phone or a phone in every room. Because we feel that we're short of money, we've carved physical activity out of the curriculum in schools. We say we can't afford it.So Kottke and his colleagues have hatched a community education campaign to change the lifestyle of Olmsted County. They call it Cardiovision 2020 and their goal is to make Olmsted County the most "heart-healthy" county in the nation in 20 years.
Richardson: We also have a demonstration table set up at the front of the store with the pamphlets and the information on how we can eat healthier and practice healthier lifestyles. We have demonstrations that go on like today we're sampling soy milk products and soybean products.Mayo got $2 million from McNeil Consumer Products to pay for education and advertising for the project for two years. McNeil is a Johnson & Johnson company that makes Benecol, a new margarine product. Mayo researchers gave benecol to parents in a small Olmsted County school system and found it cut their cholesterol levels by 15 percent. Benecol samples are available at the demonstration table but project leaders say the McNeil grant is unconditional and the company isn't influencing the direction of Cardiovision.
Puska: North Karelia used to be a very traditional, dairy farming, relatively poor area. So changing these kind of lifestyles has not been easy. You know, smoking used to be, as people said, one of the few pleasures so why to give up that? And people were always used to eat a lot of butter and they produced the butter so how could they change their fat to vegetable oils?The Finnish project sponsored competitions, offering prizes for villages that lowered their smoking or cholesterol rates more than a neighboring town. Dairy farmers were encouraged to develop low fat products or switch to growing berries for juices and jams.