CVD prevention in Europe - the unfinished agenda (WP 5)

September 23rd 2009

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in the European Union, accounting for over 2 million deaths each year. Whilst the risk factors and determinants for cardiovascular diseases are well established, an incomplete picture exists of what individual countries have put in place in terms of strategies and actions to address the heavy human and economic burden that these diseases represent.

Over the last half decade, significant policy developments addressing CVD have taken place in Europe. Amongst them are the Council Conclusions to promote heart health adopted in 2004, the European Heart Health Charter launched in 2007, and the European Parliament Resolution on action to tackle cardiovascular disease adopted with a large majority in July 2007.

To build on these developments and to implement specific provisions in the European Heart Health Charter, the European Heart Network and the European Society of Cardiology agreed to pool their expertise in a joint project called the EuroHeart project. The overarching objectives of EuroHeart are to strengthen cross-sector cooperation; obtain comprehensive comparable information on policies and actions on cardiovascular health promotion and CVD prevention; improve awareness, diagnosis and treatment of women with CVD across Europe; and create a level playing field by introducing national versions of CVD guidelines. These objectives have been detailed in separate work packages.

This report deals with one of EuroHeart’s work packages - work package 5 - providing an overview of existing national strategies and actions in the fields of cardiovascular health promotion and/or disease prevention in 16 countries in Europe. The report and its conclusions will be widely disseminated to decision makers in Europe, allowing them to review their national strategies in light of what is happening in other countries. The report is a snapshot of the situation. Addressing CVD is not static, and ongoing review and evaluation of the impact of the strategies that are implemented is essential. The European Heart Network believes that whereas health policy is largely in the domain of the EU Member States, the EU can support them and help level out inequalities within and between countries by, for example, establishing benchmarks through recommendations. Certainly, in terms of considering heart health in other policies, the EU can take a leading role by ensuring effective health impact assessment of measures proposed in a wide range of policies.

Please click here to read the report in English.

Other language versions available are: Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Slovak, Slovenian.

In the report, reference is made to country specific reports.  These can be consulted on this web page.

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