• Smart CAP is triple win for economy, environment and health

  • February 01st 2018
  • The European Heart Network (EHN), the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and Freshfel Europe have today written to European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan asking for concrete mechanisms and sufficient budget to support the European Commission’s Communication on The Future of Food and Farming’s prominent objective of healthy sustainable diets.

    Press release – for immediate release

    EHN, EPHA and Freshfel Europe ask Commissioner Hogan for concrete mechanisms to support the future CAP’s objective of healthy sustainable diets to achieve a triple win for economy, environment and health

    The European Heart Network (EHN), the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and Freshfel Europe have today written to European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan asking for concrete mechanisms and sufficient budget to support the European Commission’s Communication on The Future of Food and Farming’s prominent objective of healthy sustainable diets. In the letter, the three organisations affirm that through a smartly designed future CAP, the EU can address its citizens’ concerns and achieve a triple win for economy, environment and health.

    Representing the European fresh produce industry, as well as NGOs, foundations and groups working to prevent and reduce cardiovascular diseases and give a voice to public health in Europe, the three organisations have called on Commissioner Hogan to ensure that the future CAP has a positive impact on promoting healthier nutrition to EU citizens through sustainable agricultural production. The letter proposes that as the Commission’s Communication on The Future of Food and Farming has clear intentions to include health and nutrition considerations in the future CAP’s regulatory framework, “the EU can only go forward with a CAP that has healthy sustainable diets as a prominent objective” where these intentions are “translated into concrete mechanisms with sufficient budgets”.

    Significantly, the letter to Commissioner Hogan refers to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which the EU has adopted, including the goal to reduce by one third premature mortality from chronic diseases and promote mental health and well-being by 2030. The three organisations state that, “what and how we produce and promote food is decisive to achieve this goal as many of the major chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, are diet related”. Currently chronic diseases impose a high cost to the EU economy – the OECD estimates a cost of at least EUR 115 billion. Yet despite the WHO recommendation for a minimum daily intake of 400g per capita of fruits and vegetables per day, and the EU promotion policy and EU school fruit and vegetable scheme, the average consumption level of fresh fruit and vegetables in most Member States is under 400g.

    EHN, Freshfel Europe and EPHA affirm that by helping EU citizens shift towards a higher level of consumption of plant-based foods, the CAP can help achieve the uptake of healthy sustainable diets across all Member States. This would benefit at the same time the EU economy, address the EU’s environmental challenges and promote health.

    Please click here for a copy of the letter sent to Commissioner Hogan.

    Note to editors:

    About the European Heart Network (EHN)

    EHN is a Brussels-based alliance of heart foundations and like-minded non-governmental organisations throughout Europe, with member organisations throughout Europe. It plays a leading role in the prevention and reduction of cardiovascular diseases, in particular heart disease and stroke, through advocacy, networking, capacity-building and patient support, so that they are no longer a major cause of premature death and disability throughout Europe. www.ehnheart.org

    For further information, contact Marleen Kestens, Network Coordinator and Public Affairs Manager, Brussels, Tel + 32 2 502 15 41or email: mkestens@ehnheart.org


  • EHN Patient Activities

  • January 07th 2018
  • Cardiovascular diseases 


    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes all the diseases of the heart and circulation including coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack, congenital heart disease and stroke. It's also known as heart and circulatory diseases. CVD is the most prevalent disease in Europe: in 2015, more than 85 million people were living with CVD, almost 49 million people in the EU alone (for more data on CVD please consult the section on “CVD Statistics”). 


    Who is at risk of developing CVD? 


    Everyone is at risk of developing CVD. CVD can be caused by non-modifiable risk factors such as genetic make-up, age and gender of the individual, as well as other medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Behavioural factors including poor diet, smoking, stress and lack of physical activity also play a significant role in increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. 


    Being diagnosed with a heart disease or suffering a stroke can be frightening and overwhelming for any person and family. However, today, with healthcare professional support and cardiac and stroke rehabilitation programmes, people can continue to live active and productive heat healthy lives. Please consult EHN’s paper on Cardiac and Stroke Rehabilitation on the “Papers” page as well as the EHN Charter for European CVD Patients on the “Charter” page. 


    If you are a person living with a cardiovascular disease and would like to know more about your condition, please contact one of our member organisations; you will find their contact details in the “Members” section.


    EHN Patient Working Group


    Many of EHN’s members work actively to support people living with cardiovascular diseases as well as fund research which outcomes benefit patients. EHN facilitates networking and promotes exchange of best practices amongst its members and supports them in their advocacy efforts to elevate the patient voice. Together, the EHN patients’ organisations share research information, expertise and formulate positions on EU policies that affect patients. 


    The Group meets once a year but in addition regular liaison takes place throughout the year via email and other means. 


    Representing CVD patients at European level


    EHN is a member of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Patients' and Consumers' Working Party (PCWP), a platform where European patient groups meet to discuss key issues of relevance to patients as well as provide the EMA with recommendations and the patient perspective on all relevant issues. EHN patient member organisations provide input as needed on relevant EMA-scientific and regulatory discussions. For more information about the PCWP and the Agency, please consult the EMA website


    Linking patients with the research and medical communities 


    EHN aims to place greater emphasis on linking patients with research and medical communities to ensure that tomorrow’s scientific progress and treatments capture the patients’ expertise as much as possible and reflect their needs, including in terms of quality of life, without taking away the responsibility from healthcare professionals. 


    In addition to working closely with its research-funding members, EHN and its members bring forward patient needs and preferences in two EU-funded projects: HeartMan (funded by Horizon 2020) and BigData@Heart (IMI 2 initiative). For more information on these projects please consult the “Projects” section. 


    Furthermore, EHN has a longstanding working relationship with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), which represents the healthcare professionals in the field of cardiology. EHN runs the Secretariat of the MEP Heart Group jointly with the ESC and both organisations are consortium partners in the IMI BigData@Heart.