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Is Cardiovascular Disease Slowing Improvements in Life Expectancy?

OECD and The King's Fund Workshop Proceedings

image of Is Cardiovascular Disease Slowing Improvements in Life Expectancy?

Evidence that cardiovascular disease is contributing to the slowdown in improvements in life expectancy in some OECD countries prompted OECD and The King’s Fund to convene an international workshop to examine this issue. Invitees included members of OECD’s Health Care Quality and Outcomes Working Party and five international experts. This publication describes the workshop proceedings and conclusions about the evidence on trends in cardiovascular disease mortality, their drivers and the policy implications. The report includes contributions by the plenary speakers, Susanne Løgstrup (European Heart Network), Jessica Ho (University of Southern California), Catherine Johnson (Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation), Anton Kunst (Amsterdam AMC) and Martin O’Flaherty (University of Liverpool). It shows cardiovascular disease is an important contributor to slowing life expectancy improvements in some countries, and flags some measurement problems such as international differences and changes in diagnostic practices and cause of death coding, and the complex linkages between cardiovascular disease and other causes of death. The report calls for improvements in national and international data and monitoring to support more timely and effective policy responses for preventing, managing and treating cardiovascular disease, and for tackling socio-economic and gender inequalities.

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Contributors to CVD mortality and policy options for improving CVD health

The urgency for tackling cardiovascular disease is evident as the long-standing decline in mortality could be at risk. Policies at the population level can deliver rapid, large and equitable health and economic gains, with large returns on investments. The policy areas include improving food policy, reducing alcohol intake, smoking and air pollution. Prevention policy should aspire to achieve three main goals: reduce the cardiovascular disease burden, reduce the equity gap and reduce stress in the health care system to make it economically sustainable. Reducing the unequal burden of cardiovascular disease is likely to require a combination of targeted policies in deprived communities alongside structural policies to improve diets, smoking and alcohol intake.

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