New Global Initiative Has the Power to Shake Up Cardiovascular Health

“This ‎initiative could save millions of lives in people’s most productive years. CVD deaths are largely preventable with the tools we have today.”

Dr. Tom Frieden

Each year, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) take the lives of more than 17 million people worldwide. About 80% of those deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries, where barriers to accessible and affordable health care may be more prevalent. CVDs continue to be the world’s biggest killer and are projected to cause 22 million deaths each year by 2030.

This World Heart Day—September 29, 2016—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excited to share their efforts to reduce the global burden of heart-related diseases through the new Global Hearts Initiative. The initiative aims to prevent heart attacks and strokes and improve cardiovascular care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Global Hearts Initiative to Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes
  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke
  • Help to quit tobacco use
  • Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Raise taxes on tobacco

  • Measure and monitor salt use
  • Promote the reformulation of food to contain less salt
  • Adopt standards for labeling and marketing
  • Educate and communicate to empower individuals to eat less salt
  • Support settings to promote healthy eating

  • Counsel people on healthy lifestyle
  • Evidence-based treatment protocols
  • Access to essential medicines and technologies
  • Risk-based management
  • Team-based care and task-sharing
  • Systems for monitoring

A Triple Threat to a Global Problem

The Global Hearts Initiative takes a three-pronged approach to preventing cardiovascular diseases and implementing population-based strategies.

  • MPOWER focuses on tobacco cessation interventions.
  • SHAKE, a new initiative rolling out this year, will support governments with evidence-based policy options and examples to help lower sodium consumption.
  • HEARTS, also rolling out this year, will provide primary care health systems with best practices and tools to improve clinical preventive care for cardiovascular disease.

The Global Hearts Initiative will focus initially on 14 countries: Barbados, Benin, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jordan, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand and Uganda – and will be open to all countries wishing to participate.

Presenters at the Global Hearts Initiative launch in New York City on September 22, 2016.

Presenters at the Global Hearts Initiative launch in New York City on September 22, 2016.

Why is this important?

Many LMICs face several challenges that contribute to their CVD burden. Rates of CVD risk factors including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and tobacco use, as well as more sedentary lifestyles, are rising in these countries and increasing the risk of CVDs. Additionally, barriers to quality accessible and affordable health care also contribute to disparities between LMICs and high-income countries when it comes to the global incidence, morbidity, and mortality of CVDs. The economic costs of CVD and hypertension due to premature death, disability, health care costs, and income and productivity losses are enormous. The economic burden associated with CVD in LMICs accounts for US $3.76 trillion.

The Global Hearts Initiative can help the global community address these challenges by enabling these countries to take action for CVD prevention and control. Through the use of evidence-based strategies, Global Hearts aims to accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal to reduce premature deaths from heart attacks and stroke by one-third by 2030.

Help Spread the Word

For World Heart Day and beyond, show your commitment to improving CVD health in communities around the world by sharing the Global Hearts Initiative on your Facebook page, Twitter account, or website.

Learn More

Find resources and tools to learn more about CDC’s global and national efforts to reduce CVDs: