Even after heart disease mortality fell in the last 30 years, cardiovascular disease (CVD) still remains the number one killer worldwide.
European Union experts say that there still exist striking disparities between countries not only in terms of CVD incidence, but also with regard to national prevention policies.
AdvertisementThey even stress that EU should step up action to tackle heart disease and stroke.
The message, coinciding with World Heart Day on September 27, is aimed at informing people worldwide that 80 per cent of premature deaths due to heart disease and stroke can be avoided.
Findings released by the EuroHeart mapping project suggest that mortality rates are falling in most countries, but still there are huge inequalities among countries both in the rate of cardiovascular mortality and in national prevention programmes.
The research highlights striking inequalities among countries in terms of CHD prevention policies and legislation.
While all countries have some type of legislation covering public health, tobacco control and food, Denmark and Greece do not have national policies relating specifically to coronary heart disease.
Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy and Slovenia have five policies in place related to cardiovascular health promotion, CHD, hypertension, stroke and hyperlipidaemia. However, Greece has just one.
Only France, Germany, and Ireland reported recommendations for emergency first-aid - cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and access to and training in the use of external defibrillators.
Dirk Sterckx, Belgian MEP and co-chair of the MEP Heart Group, said: "Nobody can deny that cardiovascular diseases present a very heavy burden in all EU member states. On the occasion of the World Heart Day, I strongly invite my fellow MEPs to make a statement in favour of heart health by joining the MEP Heart Group."
Linda McAvan UK MEP, co-chair of the MEP HG, added: "I am very proud to co-chair the MEP Heart Group this term. The EP has a role to play in making cardiovascular health a priority in Europe."
The Director of the European Heart Network, Susanne Logstrup, said: "World Heart Day is a prompt to all that there is no room for complacency when it comes to CVD prevention."
Professor Roberto Ferrari, President of the European Society of Cardiology, called upon " the newly elected MEPs to take up the baton - the European Parliament resolution of 12 July 2007 on action to tackle cardiovascular disease - reminding the European Commission of the need for a concrete European strategy on prevention of cardiovascular diseases."