A research to be published in the March issue of International Journal of Cardiology, a team of researchers, of the behalf of the Euroheart II Steering Group, has investigated the recent coronary heart disease (CHD) death rates fall across most of Europe in recent decades. Since substantial risk factor reductions have not been achieved across all Europe, the aim of the research was to quantify the potential impact of future policy scenarios on diet and lifestyle on CHD mortality in 9 European countries. The previously validated IMPACT CHD models in 9 European countries was updated and extended them to 2010–11 (the baseline year) to predict reductions in CHD mortality to 2020(ages 25–74 years). Three scenarios were compared: conservative, intermediate and optimistic on smoking prevalence (absolute decreases of 5%, 10% and 15%); saturated fat intake (1%, 2% and 3% absolute decreases in % energy intake, replaced by unsaturated fats); salt (relative decreases of 10%, 20% and 30%), and physical inactivity (absolute decreases of 5%, 10% and 15%). Probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted.
Under the conservative, intermediate and optimistic scenarios, it was estimated 10.8% (95% CI: 7.3–14.0), 20.7% (95% CI: 15.6–25.2) and 29.1% (95% CI: 22.6–35.0) fewer CHD deaths in 2020. For the optimistic scenario, 15% absolute reductions in smoking could decrease CHD deaths by 8.9%–11.6%, Salt intake relative reductions of 30% by approximately 5.9–8.9%; 3% reductions in saturated fat intake by 6.3–7.5%, and 15% absolute increases in physical activity by 3.7–5.3%.
As for the conclusion, the researchers could predict that a modest and feasible policy-based reductions in cardiovascular risk factors (already been achieved in some other countries) could translate into substantial reductions in future CHD deaths across Europe. However, this would require the European Union to more effectively implement powerful evidence-based prevention policies.