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Thursday, July 28, 2011

CVD Prevention: More Bike Paths, Less Salt, More Expensive Cigarettes

Focus on Disease Prevention
Most CVD can be prevented or at least delayed until old age, the authors write. Prevention may be primordial--preventing risk factors before they occur--or primary--modifying existing adverse risk factors to prevent an initial CVD event.
It is no longer acceptable to simply treat cardiovascular disease and stroke, but in addition we must redouble efforts to not only prevent disease but also prevent the development of risk factors.
Whereas pharmacological interventions clearly reduce risk factors and prevent CVD events in clinical trials, there is less evidence about the value of public policies--such as those to reduce salt consumption, eliminate smoking, and encourage physical activity. This is largely because it is more difficult to conduct long-term cost-effectiveness analyses.
To investigate existing evidence about the value of CVD prevention, the AHA commissioned this policy statement, and the team reviewed over 200 papers.
Some of the main findings were:
  • Every $1 spent on building biking trails and walking paths would save an estimated nearly $3 in medical expenses.
  • Reducing average individual sodium intake to 1500 mg/day in the US would lead to an estimated 25.6% decrease in blood pressure and healthcare savings of $26.2 billion a year.
  • Increasing tobacco taxes by 40% would reduce smoking prevalence by an estimated 15.2% by 2025, with large gains in life expectancy and quality of life and a total savings of $682 billion.
  • For every $1 spent in wellness programs, companies would save about $3.27 in medical costs and $2.73 in absenteeism costs.


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