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Parliamentary questions
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17 November 2009
Answer given by Ms Vassiliou on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-4960/2009

The Commission is fully committed to tackling cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which are the largest cause of death in the EU and are responsible for the largest number of premature deaths under the age of 75. In the EU over 2 million people die from CVD every year, accounting for 42 % of all deaths in the EU (45 % deaths in women and 38 % deaths in men).

Eurostat data for 2006 show that while the standardised death rates for ischaemic heart disease for the EU was 129.5 deaths per 100 000 population, there were countries with more than twice this level and some with less than half. The standardised death rate for women varied ten fold and eight fold for men. There are also big differences depending on social backgrounds: in some countries death rates from heart disease are more than twice as high among poorer people than those who are better off.

CVD are being addressed at EU level mainly by action on their major determinants, such as tobacco, nutrition and physical activity, alcohol, and psychosocial stress. This is because a very high proportion of CVD is potentially preventable through action on these areas which are common determinants not only for CVD but for many other chronic diseases.

In terms of specific actions, and in order to facilitate the development of national strategies, the Commission is giving support to the European Heart Health Strategy project which focusses on policy review, alliance building and proper risk factor management strategies on national level:

In addition it supported the EUROCISS 2 Project, which aims at developing health indicators and recommendations for monitoring the burden and distribution of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Europe (

Through the seventh framework programme (2007‑13), cardiovascular research is supported under the activity ‘Translating research for human health’ within the theme ‘Health’ in the specific programme ‘Cooperation’. Up to now more than 20 research projects that ultimately are expected to lead to better diagnostic methods and algorithms, new treatments and prevention strategies for CVD are already supported. In addition, in the programme area ‘Optimising the delivery of healthcare to European citizens’ provides support to comparative research on health services and social determinants of health, including cardiovascular disorders.

Juridisk meddelelse - Databeskyttelsespolitik