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ESC says 50 percent of CVD deaths in Europe could be avoided with proper regulation
Date:7/24/2012

Up to 50% of deaths from cardiovascular disease in Europe could be avoided by implementing population level changes such as taxation and regulation of advertising. Population level prevention will produce greater impacts on CVD than individualised approaches, according to the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation (EACPR) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Cardiovascular disease is still the main cause of death in Europe, leading to more than 4.3 million deaths each year and costing at least 190 billion. But 80-90% of all cardiovascular disease is preventable, according to the 2012 joint European Societies guidelines on cardiovascular prevention (1).

Societal factors such as advertising, salt and fat content of processed foods, and agricultural policies which support unhealthy diets have created a harmful environment which induces unhealthy behaviours. Until now, efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease have focused on changing individual's lifestyles but the impact has been minimal.

The EACPR has therefore recommended a paradigm shift in CVD prevention towards a population approach. Writing in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the EACPR's official journal, they recommend population-based interventions from local and national governments aimed at unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol (2).

There is increasing evidence that small changes in the whole population can have a larger impact on CVD and save more lives than lifestyle changes in individuals at high risk. Cardiovascular mortality declined rapidly in the Czech Republic and Poland after the breakup of the Soviet Union when subsidies on unhealthy animal fat were removed and subsidies on vegetables were introduced. Similarly, smoking bans rapidly reduced the number of heart attacks.

"Population interventions make the environment healthier and change happens automatically whereas with an
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Contact: Jacqueline Partarrieu
press@escardio.org
33-492-947-756
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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