Preventing heart disease

Man running with children

Cardiovascular Disease is the UK’s single biggest killer, but in many cases it is preventable. 

Making healthy changes to our diet, taking regular exercise, and quitting smoking can all really improve our heart health. 

That’s why we develop and support policies that can help you to make positive choices and stay healthy.

Our policies that will help prevent heart disease:

  • Air pollution – we are calling on the UK Government to comply with all European Commission air quality limits as soon as possible.
  • Junk food marketing to children – promotions for unhealthy processed foods and drinks are undermining efforts to encourage children to follow a heart healthy diet.
  • Children and physical activity – the latest National Health Surveys in England and Scotland also found that around 30% of boys and 40% of girls did not reach the recommended physical activity target.
  • Food labelling – We think it’s important for shoppers to know what it is in the food they are buying. We believe a colour coded system with text and reference intakes is the best way of demonstrating this. 
  • Building physical activity into our daily lives – building physical activity into our everyday lives like walking or cycling instead of using the car on short journeys can help us work towards leading a more active lifestyle.
  • Salt – 75% of the salt we eat is already added to the food that we buy. The food industry therefore has an important role in reducing the salt content in their foods and providing clear labelling. 
  • Tobacco marketing – we think there should be restrictions on all forms of tobacco marketing aimed at getting people to start smoking, especially young people.
  • Trans fats – we believe industrially produced trans fats should be removed from the UK’s diet and that where they do occur they are clearly labelled, so that shoppers can make informed decisions about their diet. 
  • Athlete screening – we support targeted expert assessment of families where there is a high risk of an inherited cardiac disease, or where there has been a sudden unexplained death.
  • Passive smoking – Around 11,000 people are estimated to die each year in the UK as a result of passive smoke.
  • E-Cigarettes - Evidence on the safety and long-term effects of e-cigarettes is still emerging. We are calling for more research in this area, whilst recognising they are increasingly being used as a cessation aid so should regulated for this purpose.