In contrast, Chinese in mainland cities are consuming more meat and dairy products, and even enjoy ice cream -- a particular favorite of the younger generation. "It is our great concern, that what has happened to many western Chinese will happen to many westernized mainland Chinese in the next one to two decades," he says. Still, "as long as they retain the traditional dietary pattern of high vegetable and plant protein consumption, they may be protected."
One indication that this may be so relates to fat consumption. Pan Yu villagers' fat and cholesterol intake was no lower than those in other Chinese communities, Woo says -- and in fact, may be higher -- but Pan Yu still had the advantage in reduced heart disease. However, Chinese home cooking is typically lower in fat than the average Western diet.
Woo says other research is planned to look at such questions as whether green tea is more protective than black tea. "Our collaborative project will provide a unique opportunity to identify adverse and protective dietary and lifestyle factors, and the underlying mechanisms that may predispose westernized Chinese to heart disease," Woo says. "It will also contribute an overall better understanding of how we might use dietary means to help prevent heart disease in Westernized Chinese and Americans."
Co-authors include Ping Chook, M.D.; Belinda Liu, B.Sc.; Jean L. F.Woo, M.D.; Shu W. Chan, M.D.; Jian Z. Feng, M.D.; Olli T. Raitakari, Ph.D.; and David S. Celermajer, M.D.