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 Under strict embargo until 00.01 Friday 9 February 2007

Quaker and Heart Research UK to lobby government on cholesterol
         With aim of encouraging diet and lifestyle changes earlier in life

 Quaker and Heart Research UK are today launching a joint campaign to raise awareness of the
 issue of raised cholesterol and to lobby the government to conduct research to assess whether
 the national age for free cholesterol testing on the NHS should be reduced from 50 to 35.

 Raised cholesterol is a crucial issue as coronary heart disease is the number one killer in the UK
 and nearly half of those deaths are due to raised cholesterol levels.

 By the age of 35, more than one in two adults has raised cholesterol yet nine out of ten don‟t
 know their cholesterol number*. Heart disease alone costs the NHS £16bn a year** but as there
 are rarely outward symptoms of raised cholesterol, people often do not realise until they
 experience health problems.

 If raised cholesterol is detected early enough, then simple lifestyle changes such as reducing
 intake of saturated fat, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, eating more foods providing soluble
 fibre (such as oats), and being more physically active can help to naturally lower it.

 Over the past few weeks, Quaker has tested 200 Valentine‟s couples (400 people in total) aged
 25-45 in 10 cities around the UK and found that only 6% of people previously knew their
 cholesterol number.

 Quaker and Heart Research UK are now writing to influential opinion formers to ask for their
 support for the campaign. Campaign supporters to date include: Chris Ruane MP, Rt Hon Kevin
 Barron MP, Fabian Hamilton MP, Presenter Richard Bacon and Louise Diss of TOAST.

 Mary Barnard, Chief Executive of Quaker Oats, said:
         “Raised cholesterol is a serious issue in the UK and most people don‟t realise they have
         it and that they could lower it by making simple changes to their diet and lifestyle. Many
         people know that oats are a „superfood‟ but don‟t realise that they contain beta glucan, a
         soluble fibre which can help to actively lower cholesterol. Eating more oats could be the
         first step to a more heart healthy lifestyle as it can help to lower your cholesterol by up to

 Barbara Harpham, National Director for Heart Research UK, said:
         “Heart disease is a huge problem for the UK and, we feel that more should be done to
         encourage people to make diet and lifestyle changes rather than relying on medication. If
         we catch raised cholesterol earlier and encourage people to exercise more, as well as
         eat cholesterol-lowering foods such as oats, then we could reduce dependence on statins
         and help reduce incidence of heart disease.”
Quaker/ Heart Research UK campaign objectives:

     1. To increase the percentage of people who know their cholesterol number by the age of
        35, raising awareness from 10% to 50% by 2012
     2. To reduce the proportion of people aged 35 with high cholesterol by half in the next five
     3. To increase awareness that diet can play a major part in lowering blood cholesterol and
        to raise awareness of the link between heart disease and high cholesterol
     4. To encourage those with high cholesterol to seek profession advice and to improve their
        diet: eat more fruit and vegetables, increase intake of soluble fibre (e.g. oats), reduce
        saturated fat intake and be more physically active.
     5. To ask the government to assess whether general cholesterol screening at 35 would be
        worthwhile and cost effective

*        Source: Health Health Survey for England, 2003

**       Through hospital care, lost workdays and prescribing medication including statins
         which are routinely prescribed to lower blood cholesterol levels; Source: Oxford
         University Health Economics Research Centre, 2004

                                         ----- Ends ------

For more information please contact the Quaker press office on: 020 7291 6362

                           Or email
List of supporters for the campaign to date:

Fabian Hamilton MP
Chris Ruane MP
Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP
Presenter Richard Bacon
Louise Diss of TOAST
Professor Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam, Vascular Surgeon, Yorkshire Heart Centre (Leeds
General Infirmary)
David Dickinson, GP
Eileen Ingham, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Leeds
The British Dietetic Association

Additional supporting quotes for the campaign:

Richard Bacon, television presenter said:

"I had no idea that cholesterol was an issue for people my age - I always assumed it was a
problem for older people. It's quite worrying that you can't tell whether a person's cholesterol is
high or not just by looking at them so I think it's great that this campaign is raising awareness of
the issue."

Professor Kevin Channer, Consultant Cardiologist for Heart Research UK, said:

"High levels of „bad‟ (LDL) cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of developing heart
disease through the build up of fatty deposits that can narrow the arteries. In many cases and
particularly in younger people, blood cholesterol levels can be controlled by following a healthy
heart diet and a more physically active lifestyle."

Chris Ruane MP, Chair All Party Group on Heart Disease said,

“I think that raising awareness of cholesterol levels by the age of 35 is very important. As we
know, raised cholesterol can lead to heart disease and, as there are no symptoms, people often
don‟t realise until it is too late. By knowing their levels at this early age, people can make real
changes to their diet and lifestyle to lower their blood cholesterol; for example, by eating more
fruit and veg, increasing intake of soluble fibre, such as oats, and reducing saturated fat intake. I
fully support this campaign.”

Louise Diss, Managing Director, TOAST (The Obesity Awareness and Solutions Trust)

“TOAST supports any initiative aimed at raising people‟s awareness about health issues. We are
supporting this campaign and hoping it will provide the adequate tools to address the issue of
raised cholesterol as early as possible. It is vital that key organisations work together and
mobilise their efforts towards a better understanding and a better treatment of health issues.”

Denise Armstrong, Lifestyle Office for Heart Research UK said,

"In most cases a healthy balanced diet, low in saturated fat and an active lifestyle are all you
need to control cholesterol. Some foodstuffs have additional cholesterol lowering properties, oats
for example, contain the soluble fibre, beta glucan, that works by 'soaking up' cholesterol in the
gut and allowing it to be passed through the body."
The British Dietetic Association

"Even small dietary changes can help improve cholesterol levels. In conjunction with other health
lifestyle choices, this can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. We fully support this
campaign by Heart Research UK and Quaker to raise levels of cholesterol awareness amongst
people in their mid-thirties". British Dietetic Association

Notes to Editors:

Raised cholesterol increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease, the number 1 killer in
the UK

Raised cholesterol is something you might not be aware of- since there are no discernible
outward symptoms most people are unaware of a cholesterol problem until their health begins to
suffer. Currently 2.25 out of 3 are not aware of their cholesterol level

Making a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can dramatically affect your cholesterol
levels and heart health.

Research shows that eating oats as part of a diet low in saturated fat and a healthy lifestyle can
help to naturally reduce cholesterol.

Know your blood cholesterol level. If it's high, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by
lowering it.

Those affected by raised cholesterol increases from 31% in 16-24 yr olds to 55% in 25-34 yr olds
(For men it increases from 26% to 60%)

Adopt a heart healthy lifestyle – become physically active, maintain a healthy weight, improve
your diet by reducing saturated fat intake and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables
and foods providing soluble fibre such as oats.

    Source: Quaker Insights – TNS Omnibus 2006

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