Skip to content ↓
Press Room

On World Heart Day, Vital Strategies Urges Governments to Take Action To Reduce Burden of Cardiovascular Disease

New York, USA – On World Heart Day, Vital Strategies joins the World Heart Federation and the global community in urging governments and civil society to re-double their efforts to reduce the global burden of heart disease and take rapid and cost-effective action to reduce the growing burden of 18 million CVD-related annual deaths worldwide.

José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer, Vital Strategies, said: “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been the world’s leading cause of death, and in recent years that burden has fallen more on low- and middle-income countries, which now account for 80 percent of CVD (heart disease and stroke) deaths. Through Vital Strategies’ tobacco control work, the Resolve To Save 100 Million Lives initiative, obesity prevention, and environmental health programs, we are focused in our efforts to help governments and civil society reduce the deadly health and economic burden of CVD.”

“With the global cost of CVD at $863 billion, progress would be economically beneficial, too. Proven, cost-effective strategies that reduce risk factors and improve treatment and outcomes are good value – and much-needed – investments, but progress has been slow. That must change.”

Data suggest that more people are dying from CVD at a younger age – including working-age adults. This is damaging to individuals, families and societies; a strain on health systems and economies; and a barrier to sustainable development. Indeed, real progress in reducing preventable deaths from non-communicable disease – a target in the Sustainable Development Goals – cannot be made without progress on the biggest killer of all – cardiovascular disease.

According to the recently-released Global Burden of Disease study, CVD-related deaths have risen from 12 million in 1990, to over 17 million in 2016 – and lack of reliable data suggests the burden may be even greater. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health initiative – of which Vital Strategies is an implementing partner – helps governments to improve CRVS data and better analyse and use data to drive policy action that meets a country’s specific challenges. In addition, Vital Strategies’ Resolve initiative, led by former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, will help to improve the availability and accuracy of data on the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of people living with CVD, from the primary care level up.

CVD risk factor —> Vital Strategies programs

High blood pressure —> Resolve – To Save 100 Million Lives

Dietary risks —> Obesity Prevention

Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke —> Tobacco Control

Air pollution —> Environmental Health

High body-mass index —> Obesity Prevention

Physical Inactivity —> Partnership for Healthy Cities, Environmental Health

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact