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Women with lower levels of education and living in more deprived areas of the UK are at greater risk of coronary heart disease, and this is largely due to smoking, obesity and physical inactivity, according to a study of over a million women published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

Woman smoking - Shutterstock

Lead author Dr Sarah Floud, from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, said: 'Women with fewer educational qualifications and from more deprived areas of the UK were more likely to smoke, be obese and be physically inactive, although they consumed slightly less alcohol. We found that these factors accounted for most of the social inequalities in heart disease risk. The most important factor, however, was smoking: it alone accounted for about half of the associations of heart disease with education and deprivation.'

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