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Winning World Cup Lowers
Heart Attack Deaths-Study

LONDON (Reuters) - Winning soccer's World Cup not only lifts a nation's spirits, it lowers the death rate from heart attacks, doctors said on Tuesday.

During the 1998 World Cup when France defeated Brazil in the final, deaths from heart attacks in men and women dropped on the day of the match, which was watched by 26 million French TV viewers.

Instead of about 33 deaths a day in the five days before and after the match, 23 men died of a heart attack on match day. There were also fewer deaths in women but the decrease was not as significant.

Dr. Frederic Berthier, of Nice Teaching Hospital in southern hospital, is not sure why the death rate fell but he suspects it could be due to reduced stress.

"Decreased activities and/or euphoria before and after the final could result in less stress," he said in a report in the journal Heart.

He believes the national euphoria of the victory, combined with a day off from work also contributed to the fall in heart attack deaths a few days later on Bastille Day on July 14, the national holiday in France.

SOURCE: Heart 2003;89:555-556.


Reference Source 89

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