There's no dodging the fact that the New England has the highest coronary heart disease death rate in NSW.
In a shock revelation, the Heart Foundation has released statistics about the New England North West region that ought to have people watching their dietary habits more closely.
Accredited practicing dietician covering Tamworth and Gunnedah Chris Jarrett wasn't surprised at our ratings at all, given how high we were rated with associated risk factors.
But while our death rate stuns, 33 per cent more than the state average, the rate of hospitalisations from the disease is 12 per cent less.
Dr Ruzchella Javaluyas from Tamworth General Practice says a lack of education on warning signs was most likely causing the discrepancy.
People are not coming in to get checked until it is too late and they are on the verge of dying.Dr Ruzchella Javaluyas
"People are not coming in to get checked until it is too late and they are on the verge of dying," she said.
"If they experience any shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling of ankles, if they having any breathing difficulty when they sleep, these are the warning signs."
In terms of heart disease risk factors, the New England and North West region has the state's second highest rate of obesity.
Almost half of all adults living here are obese, significantly higher than the state average of 31 per cent.
Correspondingly, we also have the state's second highest rate of smoking and are in the top 10 for physical inactivity.
In that regard, Mr Jarrett says we were clearly "reaping what we sow".
Three simple tips from him: avoid fad diet advice such as that touting coconuts as having 'healthy fat', eat at least two serves of fish a week and switch to reduced fat dairy products.