An appeal to our government for nationwide policies in the prevention of cardiovascular disease

T. J. van Trier*, N. Mohammadnia, M. Snaterse, R. J. G. Peters, H. T. Jørstad, W. A. Bax, J. D. Mackenbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The high prevalence and burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is largely attributable to unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and unhealthy food habits. Prevention of CVD, through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, appears to be a Sisyphean task for healthcare professionals, as the root causes of an unhealthy lifestyle lie largely outside their scope. Since most lifestyle choices are habitual and a response to environmental cues, rather than rational and deliberate choices, nationwide policies targeting the context in which lifestyle behaviours occur may be highly effective in the prevention of CVD. In this point-of-view article, we emphasise the need for government policies beyond those mentioned in the National Prevention Agreement in the Netherlands to effectively reduce the CVD risk, and we address the commonly raised concerns regarding ‘paternalism’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-62
Number of pages5
JournalNetherlands Heart Journal
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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