A new study at Boston highlights the three most effective interventions to prevent 94 million cardiovascular-related deaths within 25 years.
Non-communicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, are a major epidemic of the modern world. Promoting public awareness and prevention strategies is essential. As part of this process, scientists at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a study to identify three highly effective public health interventions that could significantly reduce premature cardiovascular-related deaths. This study was published in the journal Circulation.
The researchers analyzed, in several scientific studies, the risk factors of hypertension, sodium intake and amount of trans fats in the diet in people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney disease, and stomach cancer. Using WHO Global Health Estimates, the impact of these risk factors on the future mortality rates were estimated.
The three intervention strategies
Anti-hypertensive medicine use, reducing sodium in the diet, and minimizing trans-fat intake were analyzed in this study
It was estimated that the combined effect of all the three interventions could delay 34.2 million deaths by 2035 and 94.3 million deaths by 2040. Early deaths can be more delayed in males under age 70 with antihypertensive medication and less sodium in the diet. This effect is found to be more pronounced in East Asia and Pacific regions. Even in developed countries, these healthy measures showed delayed deaths.
The lead author Goodarz Danaei, Associate Professor of Global Health at Harvard Chan School, states that “Focusing our resources on the combination of these three interventions can have a huge potential impact on cardiovascular health through 2040. These are realistic goals that have been shown to be attainable on smaller scales. We need the commitment to scale up the programs to achieve them globally.”
Substantial investment in the healthcare sector and strict vigilance on the food industry, along with health promotion campaigns can help achieve this goal. But individuals can begin to make healthy choices that will improve their cardiovascular health. Reducing dietary sodium intake by avoiding packaged food and preparing foods at home, and reducing trans fats by replacing them with heart-healthy oils can help to improve cardiovascular health.
Written by Dr. Radhika Baitari, MS
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Vasilis Kontis, et al. Three Public Health Interventions Could Save 94 Million Lives in 25 Years Global Impact Assessment Analysis. Circulation.
News release: Three public health interventions could prevent 94 million premature deaths. Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190610090101.htm.