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World Heart Day – CVD prevention begins at home

World Heart Day took place on 29 September 2011, with a theme of ‘One World, One Home, One Heart’. Organised by the World Heart Federation, it focused on the home as a focal point for establishing healthy lifestyle habits which have a lasting impact on the whole family.

The day’s message was that 80% of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) could be avoided if individuals made lifestyle changes and took control of the principal risk factors.

World Heart Day was also recognised by the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) Heart Group, whose secretariat is managed by the European Heart Network and European Society of Cardiology (ESC).  The ESC asserts that children can influence their parents as much as vice versa within the home, citing a study1 from this year’s ESC Congress, led by Dr Luciana Fornari (University of Sao Paulo, Brazil).

The study divided 197 school children and 323 parents into  a control group, provided with basic educational material on CVD prevention at the start and middle of the academic year, and an active group also exposed to weekly educational sessions run by a multidisciplinary team of nurses, PE teachers, physiotherapists, nutritionists and psychologists.

When the study started a similar number of parents in each group were assessed as having a greater than 10% risk of developing CVD over the next 10 years. However, after one year just one parent in the intervention group compared to 13 in the control group were estimated to have a greater than 10% risk of developing CVD over the next 10 years. These results represented a 91% risk reduction in the intervention group, compared to a 13% reduction in the control group.


1 Fornari L. Children first: how an educational program in cardiovascular prevention at school can improve parent’s cardiovascular risk. ESC Congress 2011, Programme number 5314.

Published on: November 3, 2011

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