A new report shows that the UK and Ireland are about midway in the European rankings for deaths from a major form of heart disease and stroke.
Researchers analysed data from across Europe in 2000 for deaths among 45 to 74 year olds from ischaemic heart disease (IHD), which causes reduced blood supply to the heart, and cerebrovascular disease (CVD) - defects in the blood vessels supplying the brain which can result in events such as stroke.
If mortality rates for the two conditions are added together, France is found to have the lowest rate, at 102 deaths per 100,000 of the population, with Switzerland second at 124 deaths and Spain and Italy third equal on 140.
The countries of northern and eastern Europe fare worst, with Estonia, Latvia and Romania in the bottom three, with readings of 570 plus.
The report, published in the European Heart Journal, shows Scotland is 14th out of 30 with 257 deaths per 100,000 of the population, then England and Wales are 15th with 258, Ireland 16th with 283 and Northern Ireland 17th with 285.