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WHO: Europe has heart lifestyle issues

SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS, France, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- About 4 million people die annually in Europe from cardiovascular disease attributed to lifestyle rather than underlying medical conditions, a researcher says.

Dr. Lars Moller of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe says public awareness and education campaigns have not succeeded in reducing cardiovascular disease.

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"The WHO is now in the process of drafting action plans on alcohol and on non-communicable diseases for implementing adopted strategies," Moller says is a statement. "Such plans give guidance to member states on evidence-based policy measures for decreasing the burden of CVD and other non-communicable diseases.

"This can include subsidies to favor healthy diet choices, increasing taxation, limiting availability of alcohol and tobacco and promoting the benefits of exercise more widely."

There are no new medical techniques that can control the cardiovascular epidemic, Moller says.

"The ESC has consistently presented data to governments and institutions to illustrate the urgency of the situation" Moller says. "We now look to the European Union and other bodies to move beyond data, reports and abstract plans into a far-reaching legislative program that ensures public health."

Cristian Busoi, a member of the European Parliament from Romania, emphasized that action is needed in relation to the lifestyle factors that cause cardiovascular diseases -- namely unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, tobacco use and alcohol abuse.

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