Edexcel International A Level Biology

Revision Notes

1.19 Data on Effect of Diet

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Measurements to Reduce CVD Risk


  • Some scientific studies have linked a diet high in saturated fats to an increased risk of CVD
    • It is worth noting that there are other studies that are inconclusive on the link between dietary saturated fat and CVD risk
  • Studies that investigate the connection between diet and CVD can be used to educate members of the public on their consumption of certain foods
    • Food labels now exist on most food packaging making consumers aware of what they are eating
    • Traffic light warning labels (Red = high, Orange = medium, Green = low) also exist on many food labels to warn consumers of high levels of sugar, saturated fat, and salt
    • People are able to make informed choices about their diets
  • Obesity has been linked to an increase in CVD events
  • Healthcare professionals can use a number of measures to identify obesity in patients
    • Waste-to-hip ratio is the circumference of the waist in cm divided by the circumference of the hips in cm
      • For women the ratio should be less than 0.86
      • For men the ratio should be less than 1.0
    • BMI is a value derived from dividing an individual's mass in kg by the square of their height (m2)
      • A BMI of less than 18.5 indicates that the person is underweight
      • 18.5 - 24.9 is considered normal
      • 25 - 29.9 is considered overweight
      • A person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese
  • Obese individuals can make lifestyle choices to reduce their weight to a healthy range


  • Smoking has been linked to CVD by many research studies
  • The research has led to changes in the way cigarettes are advertised
    • Health warnings now exist on all packets
    • TV and media portray smoking as an unhealthy lifestyle choice
  • Free materials, including prescriptions, are available to support individuals to stop smoking


  • Inactivity has been linked to increased risk of CVD
  • There are many campaigns and initiatives to encourage all people to partake in more exercise
    • Increased hours of physical education in schools
    • Targeted encouragement at different groups of people, such as teenagers

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Author: Marlene

Marlene graduated from Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in 2002 with a degree in Biodiversity and Ecology. After completing a PGCE (Postgraduate certificate in education) in 2003 she taught high school Biology for over 10 years at various schools across South Africa before returning to Stellenbosch University in 2014 to obtain an Honours degree in Biological Sciences. With over 16 years of teaching experience, of which the past 3 years were spent teaching IGCSE and A level Biology, Marlene is passionate about Biology and making it more approachable to her students.