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The prevention of lifestyle diseases has finally reached the top table of the United Nations
Date:9/18/2011

The European Society of Cardiology, through the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA), has urged European heads of state "to show leadership" and long-term commitment to the prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases at today's "high level meeting" of the UN General Assembly in New York1

This will be the first time ever that the UN has sought "action-orientated" commitments from governments and international organisations on the prevention and control of lifestyle-related diseases, and only the second time - following its declaration on HIV/AIDS in 2001 - that a health issue has attracted such high governmental attention. Measures to prevent non-communicable diseases, says the UN, have the potential to save "millions of lives" and "untold suffering".

The draft declaration on which the General Assembly will begin discussion today was made public on 9th September. It will make concrete commitments on access to effective medicines, the control of tobacco, the elimination of industrially produced trans-fats in foods, and the implementation of measures to reduce consumption of dietary salt, sugars and saturated fats and increase levels of physical activity in all populations2

Agreement on all of these measures, says ESC spokesman Simon Capewell, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool, UK, would be a major step forward in the prevention of cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases. "Indeed," he notes, "the fact that they are even being discussed by the UN and endorsed by heads of state will give the whole question of prevention the importance it deserves. So far, although there has been great progress in some countries and in some areas of prevention, the global burden imposed by non-communicable diseases is still overwhelming. This is unacceptable and totally unnecessary."

Even within Europe, where anti-smoking and heart-healthy lifestyle campaigns have been introduced with some degree of
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Contact: Celine Colas or Jackie Partarrieu
press@escardio.org
33-049-294-8627
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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