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Societal changes - an important fundament for primary CVD prevention

Editorial by Torben Jørgensen, EACPR Prevention, Epidemiology and Population Science Section

Population-level changes to promote cardiovascular health
T. Jørgensen et al.
on behalf of the EACPR PEP Section
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 18 April 2012
DOI: 10.1177/2047487312441726


The majority of the 1.8 million annually premature deaths of CVD in Europe are preventable. Societal changes and commercial influences have lead to the present unhealthy environment in which default option in life style increases the CVD risk. Available literature was reviewed and summarised and showed a potential enormous effect of societal changes to combat smoking, excess alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. With a focus on fiscal measures (e.g. taxation), national and regional policies (e.g. smoke ban in public areas), and environmental changes (e.g. availability of junk food) responsibility is placed on a collaboration between politicians, authorities and health professionals.

The position paper, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiolgy, shows that the societal changes is an important fundament for primary prevention of CVD, but this does not rule out the importance of personalised intervention and mass campaigns. To secure a real free choice for citizens, health authorities need to ensure healthy defaults, thus balancing the vested interest of corporations, who are not responsible for public health.