Cardiovascular diseases remain a key health issue in the EU

The European Heart Network released its European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics report for 2017. Today, cardiovascular diseases account for 37% of all deaths in the European Union (EU), that is to say 1.8 million deaths every year. Over the past 25 years, the absolute number of cardiovascular diseases cases has grown in the EU: 6 million new cases were recorded every year. Today, a total of 49 million people live with this kind of disease, costing €210 billion a year to European economies.

Dietary factors make the largest contribution to the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) of all behavioural risk factors. Consuming more fruits and vegetables is acknowledged as having a real protective effect. In the EU, fruit consumption has grown overall, whereas vegetables intake has remained stable. Their levels of consumption vary from country to country. Fruit consumption was most commonly consumed in Portugal, where 67% of men and 75% of women reported consuming fruit at least daily, and least common in Romania (26% of women and 32% of men). Vegetable consumption was most common in Belgium, where 75% of men and 82% of women reported consuming vegetables at least daily, and least common in Germany among men (25%) and Romania among women (31%).Regarding the consumption of fat, it has remained relatively stable over the past two decades in the EU.

As figures show, cardiovascular diseases remain a key public health issue in the EU. Unfortunately, one does not notice significant change in dietary habits of European citizens towards healthier food intake. The FOOD programme contributes to cardiovascular diseases prevention by promoting healthier eating habits and a more balanced food offer in 9 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden).

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