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Procedure : 2007/2601(RSP)
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Document selected : B6-0277/2007

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Debates :

PV 09/07/2007 - 16
CRE 09/07/2007 - 16

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PV 12/07/2007 - 6.6
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Texts adopted
WORD 55k
Thursday, 12 July 2007 - Strasbourg Final edition
Cardiovascular disease

European Parliament resolution of 12 July 2007 on action to tackle cardiovascular disease

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Article 152 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting on 1 and 2 June 2004(1) ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a Public Health Action Programme 2007-2013 (COM(2006)0234),

–   having regard to the its Resolution of 15 December 2005 on the Commission legislative and work programme for 2006(2) ,

–   having regard to the World Health Organisation's "European Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases"(3) ,

–   having regard to the conclusions and strategic objectives as regards women and health of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted by the Fourth UN World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995,

–   having regard to the European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention(4) ,

–   having regard to the declaration adopted at the Heart Health Conference, held in Luxembourg on 28 and 29 June 2005(5) ,

–   having regard to the Women's Health at Heart Conference, held in Brussels on 7 March 2006(6) ,

–   having regard to the June 2007 European Heart Health Charter(7)

–   having regard to the Finnish Presidency's initiative Health in All Policies from 2006(8) ,

–   having regard to the Seventh Research Framework Programme (2007-2013)(9) ,

–   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas, according to European cardiovascular disease statistics of 2005, cardiovascular disease is the most significant cause of death in men and women in the EU, accounting for 1.9 million deaths; whereas women and men are affected differently by cardiovascular disease; whereas women are more likely than men to die from a stroke or a heart attack; whereas cardiovascular diseases in women are often not diagnosed and treated properly(10) ,

B.   whereas cardiovascular disease causes nearly half of all deaths, namely 42%, in the EU(11) ,

C.   whereas cardiovascular disease is the second main cause of disease burden (illness and death) in the EU, amounting to 18% of the burden(12) ,

D.   whereas the total cost of cardiovascular disease amounts to EUR169 billion in the EU, of which EUR105 billion is spent on treating the disease in the EU and the remaining sum of EUR 64 billion results from lost productivity and the cost of informal care(13) ,

E.   whereas health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,

F.   whereas the changing demographic structure of the EU requires that people work longer and whereas debilitation arising from high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease has a negative effect on the labour market (14) ,

G.   whereas the OECD 2005 Indicators(15) state that "only around 3% of current health expenditure is spent on prevention and public health programmes",

H.   whereas major risk factors for developing a cardiovascular disease are notably the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, an excess of visceral fat, which may lead to metabolic disorders, a high level of glucose, lipids and cholesterol in the blood and high blood pressure,

I.   whereas the majority of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by a change in lifestyle together with an early identification of high-risk individuals and proper diagnosis,

J.   whereas the WHO recognises that "the most cost-effective methods of reducing risk among an entire population are population-wide interventions, combining effective policies and broad health promotion policies"(16) ,

K.   whereas a tangible European strategy for addressing cardiovascular disease is non-existent,

L.   whereas the March 2006 Women's Health at Heart conclusions called for the Council to adopt a Recommendation on a tangible EU-wide cardiovascular health strategy on the basis of a Commission proposal encompassing cardiovascular health promotion, mechanisms in support of the Member States" strategies and activities, guidelines on risk assessment, optimal preventive methods, treatment, rehabilitation and screening, and education of doctors by doctors,

M.   whereas there are major discrepancies in cardiovascular disease prevalence, prevention and care between Member States and it is the role of the EU to combat such inequalities and close the gap,

N.   whereas gender is a crucial factor in the development, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease; whereas not enough attention is being paid to gender in the health sector, which is having a negative effect on the treatment of women for cardiovascular diseases,

O.   whereas in its resolution of 15 December 2005 it has called on the Commission to "ensure a proper follow-up to its communications on the fight against obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, mental disorders and HIV/AIDS",

P.   whereas the treatment of other major diseases received overwhelming support from the European Parliament in 2006 in the form of the declaration of 27 April 2006 on diabetes(17) and the resolution of 25 October 2006 on breast cancer in the enlarged European Union(18) , while none currently exists on cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in Europe,

1.  Calls on the Commission to propose a Recommendation on cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, and on the early identification of high-risk individuals and prevention strategies in Europe, taking into account gender differences so as to ensure gender equality in the health sector;

2.  Calls on the Commission to launch a survey in order to encourage the equipment of large public spaces, such as railway and metro stations, airports and stadia, with pre-hospital system care such as early defibrillation for victims of cardiac arrest (cardiac fibrillation);

3.  Calls on the Member States to develop and strengthen their risk factor surveillance systems;

4.  Calls on the Member States to adopt or review national public health strategies so as to include the promotion of health, population and early high-risk management strategies on cardiovascular health, and to develop health impact assessments in order to measure the burden on national healthcare systems, taking into account gender differences so as to ensure gender equality in the health sector;

5.  Calls on Member States to establish national guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, including standard best practice guidelines in order to identify high-risk individuals;

6.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish a consensus on the setting of targets for managing high blood pressure screening and control;

7.  Encourages the Member States to develop and implement cardiovascular health promotion, early identification of high-risk groups and prevention strategies, as the most cost-effective methods of combating cardiovascular disease;

8.  Urges the Member States to adopt a multi-sectoral approach to cardiovascular health promotion and preventive strategies in consultation with all relevant stakeholders;

9.  Calls on the Member States to further develop their action plans on lifestyle-related health determinants in order to promote healthy lifestyles;

10.  Calls for continued financial support for further research into preventing cardiovascular disease and promoting cardiovascular health at local, national and European levels, including research into cardiovascular disease risk factors, prevalence and genetic factors;

11.  Calls on the Member States to implement public education programmes in order to raise awareness of the risk factors relating to cardiovascular disease and specialist programmes for the further education of health professionals;

12.  Calls on the Member States to measure the prevalence of cardiovascular disease among their population and to evaluate their national programmes in order to identify benchmark figures that will enable national health authorities to set tangible goals when implementing dedicated initiatives;

13.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to support the implementation of the most recent European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention produced by the Joint European Task Force;

14.  Calls on the Commission to encourage initiatives and collaborations with interested stakeholders which aim to promote better cardiovascular health through further controls on tobacco and alcohol and an improved diet and physical activity as a means of preventing obesity and high blood pressure and their related complications;

15.  Urges the Commission to follow up on its earlier initiatives on exchanges of best practice regarding cardiovascular disease prevention between Member States;

16.  Calls on the Commission to promote the regular exchange of experience, information and data on cardiovascular health between all stakeholders involved in cardiovascular disease prevention;

17.  Calls on the Commission to increase the comparability of data by encouraging the establishment of a database that monitors cardiovascular disease prevalence, mortality, morbidity and risk factors across Member States;

18.  Urges the Commission to develop, further to the Council's conclusions on Health in all Policies, health impact assessments in order to measure the burden of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure on European economic productivity across Member States;

19.  Welcomes the Commission's recently announced plan to develop a health strategy and urges the Commission, in this plan, to focus on the need for equal access to facilities for the prevention, treatment, diagnosis and control of disease for all Europeans regardless of their nationality;

20.  Calls on the Commission to point out to Member States the funding opportunities available for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure screening and prevention methods as well as for further research into cardiovascular disease, such as through the Seventh Research Framework Programme, the Structural Funds and the European Development Fund;

21.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the parliaments of the Member States.

(2) OJ C 286 E, 23.11.2006, p. 487.
(3) EUR/RC56/R2
(4) Eur. J. Cardiovasc. Prev. Rehabil. 2003 Dec;10(Suppl 1):S1-78
(9) Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 (OJ L 412, 30.12.2006, p. 1).
(10) Study: Discrimination against Women and Young Girls in the Health Sector, Policy Department C, PE 378.295
(11) Ibid.
(12) Ibid.
(13) Ibid.
(14) High Blood Pressure and Health Policy, Kanavos/Őstergren/Weber et al., 2007.
(15) Health at a Glance – OECD Indicators 2005, November 2005.
(16) WHO Information sheet - Cardiovascular diseases: prevention and control, WHO, 2003, available at
(17) OJ C 296 E, 6.12.2006, p. 273.
(18) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0449.

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