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Public Health (01-10-2007)

World Heart Day (30/09/2007) – Statement by Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou

The European Commission is delighted to support the 2007 World Heart Day.   We know what we need to make European hearts healthier - better diets, more physical activity and no smoking. This year's theme, "Team up for Healthy Hearts", is showing just what can be done to achieve these goals with the help of businesses, governments, non governmental organizations and of course European citizens.
 
Each year cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes over 1.9 million deaths in the European Union and costs the EU economy €169 billion a year in lost productivity and health care costs.
 
The EU is working hard with our partners to combat heart disease. The new Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity will help promote healthy diets and physical activity and we are planning to further expand our work on tobacco control and smoke free areas.
 
In June 2007 the European Commission supported the creation of a European Heart Health Charter, an initiative of the European Heart Network and the European Society of Cardiology. The Charter sets out the actions needed to strengthen our efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease. The Charter has already been launched in 14 countries in Europe and 9 more will launch it before the end of this year.
 
The Public Health Programme of the European Commission is also co-funding the EuroHeart project. This 3 year project will help to tackle cardiovascular disease in Europe. It will particularly investigate issues concerning cardiovascular disease in women, improve prevention practices at primary care level and seek to adapt European guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention to national situations.
 
There are encouraging signs from around Europe that we are on the right track in tackling heart and circulatory disease. But there is still a very long way to go. So on this year's World Heart Day, I urge everyone to consider what more they can do to team up with others to promote heart health and help make heart disease a thing of the past.