The Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce Calls for Urgent Action

The CVD Taskforce, a group of eminent experts who represent five leading heart-health organizations, has published a paper calling for urgent action to reduce premature mortality by 25 percent by 2025. The Taskforce paper is released ahead of World Heart Day on September 29th, when supporters worldwide will rally in support of healthful homes and countries, with a particular focus on the lesser-known CVD risks for women and children.

The Paper recommends a set of ambitious global targets to curb the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which includes cardiovascular disease (CVD – heart disease and stroke). The new targets and recommendations are critical components in the effort to prevent millions of premature deaths worldwide.

The Taskforce is calling on governments and the CVD community to accelerate progress on the commitments made at last year’s United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs, announcing support for 10 evidence-based targets. The first step in this program, agreed to at the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva this past May, was to set a global target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs to 25 per cent by 2025.

Additional targets to achieve by 2025:

  • A 10% relative reduction in the prevalence of physical inactivity in adults aged 18+ years
  • A 30% relative reduction in prevalence of tobacco abuse
  • A 30% relative reduction in mean adult (aged 18+) salt intake, with the ultimate aim of achieving a recommended consumption level of less than 5 grams (5,000 mg) per day
  • A 25% relative reduction in the prevalence of high blood pressure

Other CDV-related issues and behaviors targeted include fat intake (saturated and trans-fatty acids), cholesterol, obesity, excessive alcohol intake, and the wider use of drug therapies and essential medicines to prevent and treat CVD.

“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 Dr Sidney C. Smith, Jr (World Heart Federation President and Chair of the writing group).

With cardiovascular disease currently costing governments nearly $863 billion globally, the Taskforce recommends a set of interventions designed by the World Health Organization and designated as “best buys” – cost-effective treatments that can be delivered regardless of the income level of a country. These include the widespread adoption of multi-drug therapies that could save nearly 18 million lives over a 10-year period, at a cost of just over a dollar a day.

“Cardiovascular disease risk can be lowered by public policies that help people to make healthier choices. This set of robust targets can focus governments’ efforts on this vital task and make progress measurable,” said Dr Ralph Sacco, Past President of the American Heart Association.

Sources: EurekAlert and the World Heart Federation

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