Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Report Launched

By Leanne Dempsey Heart News   |   14th Nov 2023

A radical new approach to preventing chronic disease would save thousands of lives each year and protect our stretched health service, a new report by the Irish Heart Foundation and University College Cork insists today.

Mandatory limits on the salt content of processed foods and a political culture that tackles vested interests in public health are recommended in a bid to confront cardiovascular disease (CVD) – Ireland’s second biggest killer.

And the Government must invest in brave policy measures to prevent people dying from it – rather than solely focussing on those already ill.

CVD remains one of the top causes of premature death and disability in Ireland, accounting for 8,753 or 26.5% of all deaths in 2021.

“Little meaningful action has been taken in Ireland to truly address the key drivers of a leading cause of death and disability".

Ivan Perry, UCC

“Without the implementation of bold policy initiatives, we can expect continued and increased deaths and ill health driven by risk factors.” he said.

The paper proposes mandatory limits on the salt content of bread and processed foods, a complete online ban on marketing of high fat, sugar and salt food and drinks and an increase in the legal age of tobacco sales from 18 to 21.

A new national cardiovascular policy is also needed after the last one expired four years ago.

The five core risk factors for CVD and many chronic diseases, he said, are smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity and alcohol consumption.

Prof Perry’s findings are being supported by the Irish Health Promotion Alliance (IHPA) – a new coalition launched at the same event to highlight the devastating impact CVD, cancer and diabetes is having on the nation.

Members include the Irish Heart Foundation, Irish College of General Practitioners, Irish Medical Organisation, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, Irish Cancer Society, Alcohol Action Ireland and many other organisations.

They support the paper’s call for greater political will to implement population-based strategies to prevent the onset of disease – aimed at the entire population, regardless of their risk status.

“We do not do health well in Ireland and have an illness service rather than a health service,”

Janis Morrissey, The Irish Heart Foundation’s Director of Health Promotion, Information and Training and IHPA Chair

“Chronic diseases, which share common risk factors, account for 40% of hospital admissions and 75% of bed days, yet these conditions are largely preventable,” she said.

“But when the Government talks about promoting health, they often mean an awareness campaign, which is simply not enough.

“We need to change the narrative away from hospitals and waiting lists, and away from campaigns that focus on individual behaviours and so-called lifestyle choices.”

She said the workplace smoking ban improved everybody’s health, proving the Government’s ability to stand up to the big tobacco lobby – and which it now needs to repeat in other sectors.

Read the Full Report

Learn More

Read the Summary Report

Learn More


Facebook Twiter Email

More on Heart News

Blood Pressure Check Encouraged ‘Before Damage is Done’

Get your blood pressure checked before damage is done

Read More

Heart News   |   7th May 2024

TD’s and Senators encouraged to sign pledge for heart and stroke patients

Political support needed for practical, social and emotional support services of CVD patients

Read More

Policy News   |   25th Apr 2024

Living with Heart Failure: Support and Information Events 2024

Learn about heart failure and the supports available to those living with this condition at this FREE events across Ireland.

Read More

Heart News   |   17th Apr 2024

Support the Heart and Stroke Funding campaign 2024

Thanks so much for supporting our campaign to safeguard Irish Heart Foundation support services for heart patients and stroke survivors. Please download our step by step guide to how you can help us lobby your local politicians. You can choose to download the leaflet relevant to your county in the list below. If you have any queries on this campaign or contacting your local politicians please email

Read More

Policy News   |   8th Apr 2024

Translate »