MIAMI — Results of a study of heart disease in southern Florida do not support the popular notion that sedentary occupations carry a higher risk of heart attack, a Harvard researcher said.
In the study group, men with blue-collar jobs were more than 40% more likely to die of heart disease. The researchers could not explain the findings, but said that diet may be a factor.
"Before we're ready to say that occupation itself is the problem-- that there's something about blue-collar work that increases the risk of heart disease--we'd have to look at other differences in medical history and life style," said Dr. Julie Buring, leader of the five-member Harvard Medical School research team.
"Blue-collar workers may be more likely to have diets high in saturated fats or cholesterol," she said. "It could be diet, or something like stresses that are very different for blue-collar workers than white-collar workers."
She was to report her results today to a scientific convention sponsored by the American Heart Assn. in Washington.
The study covered 568 married white men between 30 and 70 who had lived in Dade and Broward counties and died of heart attacks. They were compared to living men of the same ages who lived in the same neighborhoods. Variables such as cigarette smoking, life style, alcohol and caffeine use were taken into account.