Are Europeans moving towards dietary habits more suitable for reducing cardiovascular disease risk?

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2020 Oct 30;30(11):1857-1860. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2020.07.018. Epub 2020 Jul 23.


Aims: Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death in Europe. Food choices represent the most important factors undermining health and well-being; they account for as much as half of all CVD deaths in Europe. The aim of this viewpoint is to evaluate food choices of the European population and their temporal trends in relation to possible effects on the cardiovascular disease risk.

Data synthesis: The CVD death rate attributable to diet-related factors has fallen in Europe over the last 25 years; however, the pace of the reduction has slowed down in the last ten years. In parallel, in the last decade unfavorable changes in the dietary habits associated with CVD risk have occurred.

Conclusions: A mismatch exists between the available evidence on the health-promoting potential of the diet and the relatively modest and inconsistent improvements of dietary habits in the European population observed in recent years. Nutritional education alone will not be enough to improve the lifestyle of people in Europe. Policy options to be considered to reach this aim should necessarily include also initiatives for facilitating production, marketing, availability and affordability of healthy foods in each and every European country.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Diet; Food balance sheets; Food choices; Global burden of diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Diet, Healthy / trends*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Time Factors