Consumer perspective on cardiovascular disease


Rosella Koning
FOODbase Wageningen
the Netherlands


The perspective of us, everyday consumers of food is highlighted in this column. How do you experience the world of food around you? Let me show you my perspective and I would be happy to hear yours.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD); nowadays almost everyone knows it, and more specifically knows someone who suffers of it. This isn’t so strange when you consider the statistics, and see that globally CVD is the number one cause of death. The WHO estimated that 17.7 million people died from CVD in 2015. This is about 31% of global deaths in that year. Compare this to 1990, when 12.3 million people died from CVD, 26% of the global deaths.

These are serious numbers. CVD is the top reason for death worldwide, and death rates continue to grow. However, it is a non-communicable disease, and 90% of the cases are preventable by changes in nutrition and lifestyle. This sounds deceptively simple, eat and live healthy and the problem is solved. However, the number of incidences is still rising. What is happening and how do we as consumers experience this topic?

Let’s begin by looking at information and knowledge available to consumers about the causes of CVD. Research on CVD continues to expand, as well as the number of risk factors mentioned to contribute to CVD, such as high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol consumption, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high choleste ...