September 18th, 2012

International Cardiology Groups Push for Aggressive Public Health Goals

Cardiovascular disease is the largest cause of death in the world and accounts for almost half of all deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Earlier this year, in response to a high-level UN meeting on NCDs in 2011, the World Health Assembly set a global target  to reduce premature NCD mortality by 25% by the year 2025.

Now, the Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce, including representatives from the World Heart Federation, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology Foundation, the European Heart Network, and the European Society of Cardiology, have proposed a set of aggressive measures to help achieve this goal.

The Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce is urging governments and medical groups to adopt four global targets:

  • Reduce the prevalence of insufficient physical activity by 10%
  • Reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25%
  • Reduce salt/sodium intake by 30%, with the aim of achieving the recommended level of less than 5 g/day
  • Reduce the prevalence of tobacco smoking by 30%

The Taskforce also expressed support for a halt in the increase in obesity and reductions in saturated fat intake, cholesterol, and alcohol (when excessive). The group also called for increased use of drugs to prevent MI and stroke.

“The number of people with CVD is growing and its impact is disproportionately felt by those in the developing world, where people die younger; we now have the opportunity of a lifetime to stem its rise with concerted international action that will help countries tackle the preventable causes of CVD,” said Sidney Smith, Jr., president of the World Heart Federation and chair of the writing group, in a press release.

The Taskforce paper can be downloaded in the journals Global HeartCirculation, the European Heart Journal, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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